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San  Francisco,  California 

The  Woman's 
Encyclopedia  f 

of  Myths 
and  Secrets  ^ 

Honored  by  the  London  Times  Educational 
Supplement  as  1986  "Book  of  the  Year" 

"Awesomely  researched.  .  .  .  Walker  has  distilled  20 
years  of  research  into  an  absorbing  treasure  house. 
This  is  a  feminist-scholar's  gold  mine  and  a  browsers 
delight." — Los  Angeles  Times 

"Whoever  ventures  into  this  .  .  .  book  runs  the  risk  of 
being  totally  absorbed." 
— Shirley  Horner,  The  New  York  Times 

"A  mountain  of  scholarship,  a  vast  mass  of  supremely 
documented  material  .  .  .  demonstrating]  the  dominant 
role  women  have  played  in  the  cultural  evolution  of  our 
species." — San  Francisco  Chronicle 

"Barbara  Walker  upsets  the  complacent  Judeo- 
Christian  applecart  of  orthodoxy.  [An]  outstanding, 
endless  well  of  information.  .  .  .  Her  literary  excellence 
and  the  unrelentingly  fascinating  material  .  .  .redresses 
two  millennia  of  cultural  and  sexual  misrepresentation." 
— East  West  Journal 

"A  whopping  compendium  of  history,  legend,  and 
myth.  .  .  .  Perhaps  the  first  substantial  feminist-oriented 
encyclopedia  of  the  history  of  modern  society." 
— The  Denver  Post 

"A  vast  and  detailed  resource  on  women's  history .  .  . 
offering]  a  wealth  of  fascinating  detail.  It  will  indeed 
give  a  clearer  picture  of  our  total  cultural  heritage." 
— Yoga  Journal 

"Walker  has  written  a  tribute  to  the  goddess.  Like  the 
witches  and  wise  women  of  old,  Walker  has  eyes  to  see 
what  the  rest  of  us  cannot:  the  figure  of  the  goddess 
hidden  behind  rites,  dogma,  fairy  tales,  nursery  rhymes, 
superstitions,  even  our  very  language.  She  sees  the 
restoring  of  the  goddess  to  her  rightful  place  as  an 
essential  healing  act  for  women  and  our  whole 
culture   ...  You  can  rely  on  it  to  be  witty  and 
compulsively  readable."— The  Philadelphia  Inquirer 


t   i 








Harper  &  Row,  San  Francisco 

New  York,  Grand  Rapids,  Philadelphia,  St.  Louis 
London,  Singapore,  Sydney,  Tokyo,  Toronto 

Opposite  title  page:  kore,  polychromed  marble,  Greece,  ca. 
5  th  century  B.C. 

Acknowledgments  appear  on  p.  Ill 9-20. 


Copyright  ©  1983  by  Barbara  G.  Walker. 

All  rights  reserved.  Printed  in  the  United  States  of  America. 

No  part  of  this  book  may  be  used  or  reproduced  in  any  manner 

whatsoever  without  written  permission  except  in  the  case  of  brief 

quotations  embodied  in  critical  articles  and  reviews.  For  information 

address  Harper  &  Row,  Publishers,  Inc.,  10  East  53rd  Street, 

New  York,  NY  10022. 

Designed  by  Design  Office  Bruce  Kortebein 

Library  of  Congress  Cataloging  in  Publication  Data 

Walker,  Barbara  G. 

The  women's  encyclopedia  of  myths  and  secrets. 

Bibliography:  p. 

1.  Women — Mythology  +  Dictionaries.         2.  Sexism- 
Religious  aspects — Dictionaries.         3.  Matriatchy — 
Dictionaries.         Goddesses — Dictionaries.         I.  Title. 
BL458.W34        291'. 088042        83-47736 
ISBN  0-06-250926-8 
ISBN  0-06-250925-X  (pbk.) 

90  91  92  93  94  16  15  14  13  12 

Editor's  Note 

Cross  references.  Words  printed  in  the  text  of  this  book  in  bold 
face  type  indicate  main-entry  treatment  of  those  subjects.  Such  cross 
references  have  been  designated  only  if  the  reader  might  find 
additional  information  pertinent  to  the  subject  at  hand.  Short  articles 
have  been  supplemented  by  generous  cross  references,  to  avoid 
frequent  duplication  of  material. 

Some  main  entries  serve  as  cross  references  in  themselves:  rather 
than  introducing  articles,  they  refer  the  reader  to  treatment 
elsewhere.  For  example,  the  entries  for  alphabet,  blood,  and  world  egg 
indicate  the  various  other  articles  in  which  the  reader  will  find 
information  about  these  topics.  Cross  references  have  also  been 
included  for  alternate  spellings  of  main-entry  headings — Isolde 
instead  of  Iseult,  Beelzebub  instead  of  Baal-Zebub,  and  so  on. 

The  customary  differentiation  between  see  and  see  also  does  not 
appear  in  this  book.  The  reader  can  decide  to  seek  further 
information  either  for  direct  expatiation  or  simply  for  general  interest. 

Marginalia.  An  unusual  aspect  of  this  encyclopedia  is  its  marginal 
notations.  There  are  three  kinds. 

First,  since  so  many  terms  appear  in  different  languages  and 
different  historical  eras,  variant  spellings  are  given  in  the  margin  to 
show  their  cross-cultural  associations. 

Second,  as  an  extension  of  the  above,  where  the  etymology  is 
particularly  rich  and  might  tend  to  interrupt  the  main  story,  it  has 
been  put  in  the  margin. 

Third,  the  author  has  drawn  on  such  an  abundance  of  sources 
that  all  cannot  be  included  in  the  Bibliography.  Hence,  those  used 
only  once  or  twice  have  been  given  a  brief  description  or  definition  in 
the  margin. 

References.  The  notes  are  numbered  from  1  for  each  article. 
Information  is  abbreviated  but  sufficient  to  clue  the  reader  to  the 
full  reference  in  the  Bibliography.  The  sequence  is:  author's  last  name 
(preceded  by  distinguishing  initials  if  there  is  more  than  one  author 
with  the  same  last  name);  title  (abbreviated)  if  there  is  more  than  one 
work  by  the  same  author;  volume  number  if  pertinent;  and  page 
reference.  For  example: 

1.  Budge,  G.E.2, 47. 
This  indicates  that  note  1  cites  Sir  E.  A.  Wallis  Budge,  Gods  of  the 
Egyptians,  volume  2,  page  47.  The  rest  of  the  publication  data  is  in 
the  Bibliography,  which  is  arranged  alphabetically  by  author. 



Why  did  Adam  "give  birth"  to  Eve?  See  Birth-giving,  Male. 

Who  was  the  original  Holy  Trinity?  See  Trinity. 

How  did  the  middle  finger  become  a  phallic  symbol?  See  Fingers. 

Why  is  it  bad  luck  to  break  a  mirror?  See  Mirror. 

What  was  the  real  Easter  Bunny?  See  Easter. 

Why  did  Jesus  curse  the  fig  tree?  See  Fig. 

Why  do  people  kiss  under  the  mistletoe?  See  Mistletoe. 

What  was  meant  by  Lucifer's  fall?  See  Lucifer. 

Why  was  Jesus's  tomb  attended  only  by  women?  See  Mary  Magdalene. 

Why  was  Mohammed's  daughter  called  her  father's  mother?  See  Fatima. 

Why  did  Rome  fall?  See  Dark  Age. 

Was  there  a  real  Saint  Peter?  See  Peter,  Saint. 

Why  were  women  made  to  cover  their  heads  in  church?  See  Hair. 

Why  did  early  Christians  outlaw  marriage?  See  Marriage. 

Why  did  King  Arthur  try  to  kill  babies?  See  Innocents,  Slaughter  of. 

Was  there  a  female  pope?  See  Joan,  Pope. 

What  was  the  real  meaning  of  fairy  tales?  See  Fairies. 

Thousands  of  popular  fantasies  and  hidden  facts  are  expounded  in  this 
Encyclopedia,  where  the  complex  subject  of  sexism  is  approached 
from  both  the  historical  and  the  mythic  viewpoints.  Standard  encyclope- 
dias usually  omit  such  material,  or  give  it  a  brief,  uninformative  note. 
There  is  need  for  a  complete  study  of  the  many-faceted  process  of 
transition  from  female-oriented  to  male-oriented  religions  in  western 

Our  culture  has  been  deeply  penetrated  by  the  notion  that 
"man" — nor  woman — is  created  in  the  image  of  God.  This  notion 
persists,  despite  the  likelihood  that  the  creation  goes  in  the  other 
direction:  that  God  is  a  human  projection  of  the  image  of  man.  No 
known  religion,  past  or  present,  ever  succeeded  in  establishing  a 
completely  sexless  deity.  Worship  was  always  accorded  either  a 
female  or  a  male,  occasionally  a  sexually  united  couple  or  an  androgy- 
nous symbol  of  them;  but  deities  had  a  sex  just  as  people  have  a  sex. 
The  ancient  Greeks  and  others  whose  culture  accepted  homosexuality 
naturally  worshipped  homosexual  gods.  (See  Hermes.) 

Opposite  page:  The  Goddess  maat,  bas-relief,  Egypt,  19th  Dynasty. 


Introduction  Modern  Christians  take  it  for  granted  that  they  must  revere  the 

figures  of  a  Father  and  a  Son,  never  perceiving  divinity  in  corre- 
^^^^^^^^^^—      sponding  Mother  and  Daughter  figures,  as  the  ancients  did.  Though 
Catholics  still  worship  the  Goddess  under  some  of  her  old  pagan 
titles,  such  as  Mother  of  God,  Queen  of  Heaven,  Blessed  Virgin  and  so 
on,  their  theologians  refuse  to  admit  that  she  is  the  old  Goddess  in  a 
new  disguise,  and  paradoxically  insist  on  her  non-divinity.  (See  Mary.) 

The  older  concept  of  the  female  Holy  Trinity  ruling  all  cycles  of 
creation,  birth,  and  death  in  her  Virgin,  Mother,  and  Crone  forms, 
was  destroyed  by  Christians'  attacks  on  her  temples,  scriptures,  rituals, 
and  followers.  The  church  declared  from  the  first  that  the  Great 
Goddess  "whom  Asia  and  all  the  world  worshippeth"  must  be  despised, 
"and  her  magnificence  destroyed"  (Acts  19:27).  This  is  virtually  the 
only  Gospel  tenet  that  churches  followed  through  all  their  centuries 
with  no  deviation  or  contradiction.  It  seemed  necessary  to  hide  the 
fact  that  Christianity  itself  was  an  offshoot  of  Middle-Eastern  Goddess 
worship,  skewed  by  the  asceticism  of  Persia  and  India.  (See  Jesus 

As  a  salvation  cult,  early  Christianity  based  its  scheme  of  redemp- 
tion on  the  premise  of  female  wickedness.  Salvation  was  needed 
because  there  had  been  a  Fall,  brought  about  by  archetypal  Woman. 
Without  the  myth  of  Eve's  defiance,  there  would  have  been  no  sin, 
hence  no  need  for  salvation  or  savior.  (See  Eve.)  Fathers  of  the  church 
declared  that  the  original  sin  was  perpetuated  through  all  generations 
by  every  woman,  through  sexual  conception  and  birth-giving.  Woman's 
mysterious,  devilish  sexual  magnetism  seduced  men  into  the  "concu- 
piscence" that,  even  within  lawful  marriage,  transmitted  the  taint  of  sin 
to  every  man.  (See  Sex.)  So  said  St.  Augustine,  and  the  church  never 
altered  his  opinion. 

Throughout  history  we  find  clergymen  advocating  abuse  of  wom- 
en, to  express  their  horror  of  female  sexuality  and  their  conviction 
that  all  women  deserve  punishment  for  the  primordial  crime  that 
brought  death  and  damnation  to  man.  Adam,  representing  all  men, 
was  less  guilty  than  Eve,  representing  all  women.  St.  Paul  even 
regarded  Eve  as  the  only  guilty  one  (1  Timothy  2:14).  The  tradition 
persisted  up  to  the  present  century,  when  the  clergy,  if  not  advocating 
active  abuse  of  women,  at  least  refrained  from  too  much  interference 
with  it.  Some  clergymen  have  been  found  to  be  wife-batterers.  Many 
still  counsel  women  to  be  subservient  to  men,  in  accordance  with 
"God's  will."  (See  Sexism.) 

Man's  and  God's  attack  on  women  was  not  usually  justifiable  as 
revenge  for  real  injuries.  Therefore  the  mythical  injury  of  the  Fall 
was  essential  to  the  early  theological  scheme.  The  practical  goal  was  not 
to  prevent  women  from  hurting  men,  but  to  prevent  women  from 
acting  independently  of  men:  from  owning  their  own  property,  earning 
their  own  money,  making  their  own  sexual  choices,  or  raising  their 
own  children  without  interference. 

Patriarchal  religion  declared  war  on  pagan  societies  where  mother- 

hood  was  once  considered  the  only  important  parental  relationship- 
where  women  owned  the  land  and  governed  its  cultivation;  and  sexual 
attachments  were  made  and  unmade  at  women's  discretion.  (See 
Matrilineal  Inheritance.)  From  a  biological  viewpoint,  patriarchal 
religion  denied  women  the  natural  rights  of  every  other  mammalian 
female:  the  right  to  choose  her  stud,  to  control  the  circumstances  of  her 
mating,  to  occupy  and  govern  her  own  nest,  or  to  refuse  all  males 
when  preoccupied  with  the  important  business  of  raising  her  young. 
(See  Motherhood.) 

Such  basic  biological  rights  of  the  female  were  set  aside  by 
patriarchal  human  societies— although,  at  the  dawn  of  history,  the 
social  role  of  male  begetters  was  very  differently  conceived,  in'a  way 
alien  to  modern  patriarchal  thought.  (See  Kingship.)  Today's  schol- 
ars habitually  call  all  female  and  male  deities  of  that  ancient  world 
"gods,"  as  they  also  call  humanity  "man."  Yet  the  supreme  deity  of 
that  world  was  usually  a  Goddess,  the  creatress  or  Mother  of  the  gods; 
and  the  very  word  "man"  used  to  mean  "woman,"  an  incarnation  of 
the  same  lunar  Mother,  in  its  original  language.  (See  Man.) 

Early  Christian  thinkers  rightly  perceived  that  destruction  of  the 
women's  Goddess  would  mean  a  crushing  blow  to  women's  pride 
and  confidence,  since  men's  pride  depended  greatly  on  their  vision  of  a 
God  like  themselves,  only  better.  Women  were  not  called  daughters 
of  this  God,  who  gave  men  their  souls.  In  the  sixth  century,  churchmen 
even  denied  that  women  had  any  souls. 

Forbidden  by  Christian  conquerors  to  express  their  own  faith,  the 
women  of  Europe  eventually  adopted  the  men's  faith  perforce. 
Sometimes  they  were  lured  by  specious  concessions,  which  were 
afterward  rescinded.  (See  Convent.)  Sometimes  they  were  coerced 
by  Christianized  husbands  or  overlords.  The  myths  and  secrets  of 
women's  spiritual  past  were  buried,  just  as  men  buried  the  sheila-na- 
gig  figures  of  semi-pagan  Irish  churches,  hoping  they  would  never  be 
found.  (See  Sheila-Na-Gig.) 

However,  what  Christian  histories  rarely  admit  is  that,  after  more 
than  a  thousand  years  of  alternate  violence  and  guile,  the  western 
world  still  was  not  truly  Christianized.  The  ancient  faith  persisted, 
because  every  man  was  still  born  of  woman  and  nurtured  by  woman, 
despite  the  theologians'  insistence  that  a  father  was  the  only  significant 
parent.  (See  Paganism.)  This  was  mere  verbal  learning,  as  contrast- 
ed with  the  direct  experience  of  infantile  dependence  on  the  mother. 
When  it  appeared  at  all,  father-love  seems  to  have  been  a  somewhat 
less  satisfactory  artificial  imitation  of  mother-love.  (See  Fatherhood.) 
In  relations  between  fathers  and  children  the  more  dominant  emo- 
tion was  fear.  Men  were  enjoined  from  the  pulpit  to  instill  "the  fear  of 
God"  into  their  children  through  harsh  punishments. 

Harshest  of  all  were  the  Heavenly  Father's  punishments:  a  terrible 
vision  of  eternal  torture  developed  out  of  men's  fears.  The  Christian 
hell  was  the  most  sadistic  fantasy  ever  to  masquerade  as  fact.  (See  Hell.) 
Churchmen  used  it,  not  only  to  terrify  naive  congregations  into 


Introduction  compliance,  but  also  to  excuse  the  torture  and  burning  of  witches. 

Inquisitors  said  the  eternal  punishment  of  such  heretics  should  begin 
^^^^^^^^^^     in  this  life,  continuing  up  to  the  victim's  death.  (See  Inquisition.) 

The  religion  of  the  Goddess  and  her  sons  and  lovers,  the  old  gods, 
came  to  be  called  devil  worship  because  these  deities  were  redefined 
as  devils  (when  they  were  not  adopted  into  the  Christian  canon  as 
pseiido-saints).  The  link  between  "woman"  and  "devil"  in  the 
patriarchal  mind  was  as  old  as  the  Garden  of  Eden  story.  (See  Serpent.) 
It  persisted  even  after  the  dawn  of  a  more  enlightened  age  brought 
the  decline  of  organized  persecution.  However,  the  rack  and  stake  were 
replaced  in  the  18th  and  19th  centuries  by  more  subtle  abuses,  aimed 
at  suppressing  women  legally,  politically,  economically,  and  psychologi- 
cally. Clergymen  helped  by  opposing  women's  education  and 
supporting  all  physical  or  legal  measures  for  keeping  women  "in  their 
place."  As  Sir  Hermann  Bondi  accurately  observed,  men  made  God 
their  primary  source  for  "the  common  and  undisguised  contempt  for 
women  enshrined  in  the  three  great  Western  religions,  the  basis  for 
the  cruel,  inhuman  and  wasteful  sexism  still  so  rampant."  Women's 
feelings  of  unworthiness  and  insecurity,  even  aberrations  like  mas- 
ochism and  depression,  often  may  be  traced  to  training  in  a  male- 
oriented  religion,  at  variance  with  their  own  nature. 

Recently,  some  women  have  begun  to  seek  better  understanding 
of  that  feminine  nature,  buried  as  it  was  under  western  society's 
proliferation  of  masculine  images  and  values.  One  interesting  idea  to 
emerge  from  this  new  research  is,  if  women's  religion  had  continued, 
today's  world  might  be  less  troubled  by  violence  and  alienation.  Gods, 
including  Yahweh,  tended  to  order  their  followers  to  make  war; 
whereas  the  great  mother  Goddesses  advocated  peaceful  evolution  of 
civilized  skills.  Cooperation  rather  than  exploitation  was  the  matriar- 
chal rule.  (See  War.) 

Goddess  worship  usually  entailed  frank  acceptance  of  the  natural 
cycles  of  sexuality,  birth,  and  death;  and  maternal  concern  for  the 
welfare  of  coming  generations.  Love  was  not  the  abstract  principle  that 
"love  of  God"  was  to  become.  In  the  very  process  of  worship  it  could 
be  directly,  intimately,  and  physically  experienced.  (See  Karuna.) 
Certainly  there  was  still  a  strong  element  of  this  Oriental-feminist 
concept  in  the  medieval  "heresies"  that  aroused  the  ire  of  the  church. 
(See  Romance.) 

Perhaps  the  most  important  part  of  any  religion  is  the  direction  it 
gives  to  interpersonal  behavior  patterns.  The  patterns  evolved  by 
women  in  honor  of  their  ancient  Goddess  surely  deserve  close  study 
today.  As  one  of  the  Goddess's  scriptures  pointedly  said,  "What  use 
are  grand  phrases  about  the  soul  on  the  lips  of  those  who  hate  and  injure 
one  another?  . . .  Religion  is  kindness."  (See  Atheism.) 

Traces  of  the  "kind  Goddess"  are  still  to  be  found  in  a  thousand 
hidden  pockets  of  history  and  custom:  myths,  superstitions,  fairy  tales, 
folk  songs  and  dances,  nursery  rhymes,  traditional  games  and  holidays, 

magic  symbols,  sagas,  and  scriptures  both  original  and  revised,  apoc-  Introduction 

ryphal  and  otherwise — in  addition  to  the  valuable  material  recovered  by 

archeologists,  orientalists,  and  other  scholars.  Patterns  emerge  from  

comparative  studies,  which  can  be  fitted  together  like  pieces  of  a  jigsaw        ™^^^^™^^ 
puzzle.  The  puzzle  is  far  from  complete;  but  many  of  its  pieces  are 
here,  in  this  book. 

These  Myths  and  Secrets  are  drawn  from  more  than  paganism. 
Biblical  myths  are  especially  significant,  not  only  because  they  shaped 
the  attitudes  of  western  culture,  but  also  because  they  were  written  and 
rewritten  during  centuries  of  transition  from  matriarchal  to  patriarchal 
systems.  The  later  development  of  Christian  myths  contributed  much  to 
sexist  thinking.  In  Europe,  sexism  was  a  primary  product  of  the 
Christian  church.  Patriarchal  religions  like  Judaism  and  Christianity 
established  and  upheld  the  "man's  world"  largely  by  an  elaborate 
structure  of  falsehood.  Among  the  Secrets  in  this  book  are  many 
surprising  historical  secrets  that  were  covered  up,  whitewashed,  or 
otherwise  falsified  through  1 500  years  when  the  church  maintained  a 
monopoly  of  literate  records,  and  virtually  wrote  its  own  history  to  its 
own  order. 

Some  of  the  facts  concealed  by  that  Christian  history  have  come  to 
light  in  recent  decades.  Others  are  being  kept  secret  even  now,  by 
religious  organizations  still  dedicated  to  preserving  a  patriarchal  society. 
Laymen  and  especially  women  are  theoretically  forbidden  to  investi- 
gate them.  Nevertheless,  they  can  be  found  out. 

Naturally,  the  secret  most  deeply  concealed  by  Christianized 
history  was  the  many-named  Goddess,  the  original  Holy  Trinity  who 
created  and  governed  the  world,  gave  birth  to  its  Saviors,  sent  her  tablets 
of  divine  law  to  the  prophets,  and  watched  over  every  life  from  womb 
to  tomb,  according  to  pre-Christian  belief.  Today  she  is  viewed  as 
"mythical,"  having  been  replaced  by  a  God  (equally  mythical,  but 
more  acceptable  to  a  male-dominated  culture),  who  took  over  most  of 
her  attributes.  It  is  not  usually  understood  that  the  spiritual  life  of 
western  man,  and  especially  of  western  woman,  was  greatly  impover- 
ished by  her  violent  suppression. 

The  unremitting  warfare  of  the  church  against  followers  of  the 
Goddess  is  a  large  part  of  what  feminists  now  call  our  hidden  history. 
Even  though  Christianity  itself  grew  out  of  the  once-universal  religion 
of  the  Goddess,  it  was  a  matricidal  son  whose  bigotry  tinged  every 
thought  and  feeling  with  woman-hatred.  In  the  end  it  produced  a 
society  in  which  members  of  one  sex  invariably  oppressed  members 
of  the  other,  and  both  came  to  regard  this  inequity  as  a  natural  state  of 
affairs,  ordained  by  a  male  "Creator."  Matters  were  otherwise  in  the 
pre-Christian  world  where  the  "Creator"  was  more  often  a  "Creatress." 
Through  making  God  in  his  own  image,  man  has  almost  forgotten 
that  woman  once  made  the  Goddess  in  hers.  This  is  the  deep  secret  of 
all  mythologies,  and  the  fundamental  secret  of  this  book. 


)  ■•*.        ** 

>}?*£*'     H 






artemis,  the  Amazonian 
Moon-Goddess  and 
Huntress.  Greek,  4th 
century  b.c. 

The  "Ludovisi  Throne" 
marble,  long 
identified  as  aphrodite 
being  born  from  the 
sea,  helped  by  two 
Horae.  Now  thought 
to  be  Hera  in  her  bath. 
Greek,  5th  century  b.c. 

Majestic  seven-foot 
statue  of  athene,  her 
great  helmet  with  owls 
and  griffins,  and 
across  her  chest  the  aegis 
with  the  Medusa 
head  signifying  Female 
Wisdom.  Early  4th 
century,  bronze. 



Sacred  alphabets  of  the  ancient  world  signified  birth  and  beginning  by 
the  letter  A.  This  letter  meant  the  Creatress,  who  invented  alphabets 
and  gave  them  to  mankind — though  most  traditions  said  womankind 
had  them  first. 

Babylonians  called  the  Great  Mother  "A",  the  Beginning;  or  Aya, 
the  Mother  of  All  Things.1  Tantric  sages  called  her  birth-letter  Alpa 
Akshara,  "the  letter  A,  which  is  considered  the  'mother  of  all  wisdom,' 
and  therefore  of  all  men  of  genius;  all  Bodhisattvas  and  Buddhas  are 
said  to  have  been  produced  by  'A'."2 

The  Greeks  held  similar  views  about  the  letter  Alpha,  which  de- 
noted the  river  of  birth  or  creation.  Its  other  name  was  Styx,  the  river 
of  death,  for  in  the  cyclic  system  of  the  ancients,  birth  and  death  merged 
in  a  circular  continuum.  The  river  Styx  circled  seven  times  through 
the  earth's  womb  and  emerged  again  as  Alpha. 

X.Assyr.  &  Bab.  Lit,  133-34.  2.  Waddell,  161. 


Egyptian  word  for  the  heart-soul,  most  important  of  the  seven  souls: 
the  one  that  would  be  "weighed  in  the  balances"  by  the  Goddess  Maat 
in  the  underworld  Hall  of  Judgment  after  death.  As  in  India,  the 
heart-soul  was  pictured  as  a  tiny  dancer  treading  a  constant  rhythm  in 
the  midst  of  the  body,  as  Dancing  Shiva  or  Dancing  Kali  kept  the 
rhythm  of  life  in  the  midst  of  the  cosmos.  The  hieroglyphic  sign  of  the 
ab  was  a  dancing  figure.1  See  Heart. 

1.  Budge,  E.L.,  44. 

var.  Abaton 


The  god  Apollo  was  a  solar  king  in  heaven  during  the  day,  and  a 
Lord  of  Death  in  the  underworld  at  night.  His  latter  form  became  the 
Jewish  Apollyon,  Spirit  of  the  Pit  (Revelation  9:1 1).  Apollo-Python 
was  the  serpent  deity  in  the  Pit  of  the  Delphic  oracle,  who  inspired  the 
seeress  with  mystic  vapors  from  his  nether  world.  The  Greek  word 
for  the  Pit  was  abaton,  which  the  Jews  corrupted  into  Abaddon — later  a 
familiar  Christian  synonym  for  hell. 

Also  called  a  mundus  or  earth-womb,  the  abaton  was  a  real  pit, 
standard  equipment  in  a  pagan  temple.  Those  who  entered  it  to 
"incubate,"  or  to  sleep  overnight  in  magical  imitation  of  the  incubatory 
sleep  in  the  womb,  were  thought  to  be  visited  by  an  "incubus"  or 
spirit  who  brought  prophetic  dreams.1  Novice  priests  went  down  into 
the  pit  for  longer  periods  of  incubation,  pantomiming  death,  burial, 
and  rebirth  from  the  womb  of  Mother  Earth.  Once  initiated  in  this  way, 
they  were  thought  to  gain  the  skill  of  oneiromancy:  the  ability  to 
interpret  dreams. 

The  Old  Testament  Joseph  earned  his  oneiromantic  talent  by  Abishag 

incubation  in  a  Pit.  The  "brothers"  who  put  him  there  seem  to  have 

been  fellow  priests.  He  could  interpret  Pharaoh's  dreams  only  after  he  ^ 

had  submitted  to  the  ritual.  Assyrian  priests  derived  similar  powers 
from  a  sojourn  in  the  Pit.2  They  then  assumed  the  priestly  coat  of  many 
colors,  signifying  communion  with  the  Goddess  under  her 
oneiromantic  name  of  Nanshe,  "Interpreter  of  Dreams."5  It  seems 
likely  that  Joseph's  coat  of  many  colors  would  have  been  given  him 
originally  not  before  the  initiation  but  afterward,  by  a  "father"  who  was 
actually  the  high  priest.4 

The  same  burial-and-resurrection  ritual  is  found  in  the  lives  of 
many  ancient  sages.  It  was  said  of  the  Pythagorean  philosopher 
Thales  of  Miletus,  accounted  one  of  the  Seven  Wise  Men  of  the 
ancient  world,  that  he  derived  his  intellectual  skills  from  communion 
with  the  Goddess  of  Wisdom  in  an  abaton.5 

1.  Bromberg,  11.2.  Lethaby,  172.  3.  Assyr.dr  Bab.  Lit,  131.  4.  Larousse,  63. 
5.  de  Lys,  336. 


The  Bible  claims  the  maiden  Abishag  was  chosen  for  her  beauty,  to 
engender  "heat"  in  the  aged  King  David  (1  Kings  1:2).  This  "heat" 
was  not  mere  warmth,  but  the  sacred  fire  of  sexual  potency,  without 
which  no  king  could  be  allowed  to  rule.  If  an  impotent  king  were  kept  in 
office,  his  land  would  become  barren.  Hence,  when  David  failed  to 
"know"  Abishag,  a  more  virile  prince  (Adonijah)  immediately  prepared 
to  assume  the  throne,  and  "exalted  himself,  saying,  I  will  be  king" 
(I  Kings  1:5).  David's  death  occurred  with  suggestive  promptness  after 
his  failure  of  the  virility  test. 

Abishag's  name  might  be  related  to  the  Hindu  abhiseka  ceremony, 
the  anointing  of  kings  with  the  sacred  fluid  of  the  Goddess  Sarasvati.1 
From  China  to  the  Mediterranean,  ancient  kings  derived  their 
legitimation  from  a  mating  with  the  Goddess  through  her  priestess- 
surrogate.2  Mesopotamian  kings  and  their  deified  souls,  the  gods, 
were  constantly  described  as  "beloved"  of  the  Goddess  known  as 
creatress  of  the  earth  and  "maker  of  fate,  she  who  decrees  the  fate  of 
the  men  and  gods."5  Like  the  eastern  Goddess,  Abishag  represented  the 
land  in  the  same  way  as  Solomon's  bride,  whose  mating  was 
chronicled  in  the  requisite  intimate  detail  by  the  Song  of  Solomon. 

After  David's  death,  the  queen  mother  chose  between  rival  candi- 
dates Solomon  and  Adonijah.  She  crowned  Solomon  with  her  own 
hands  (Song  of  Solomon  3:11),  after  the  custom  of  the  royal  women 
whose  business  it  was  to  enthrone  or  depose  kings,  as  in  India,  Egypt, 
and  the  lands  of  the  Fertile  Crescent.4  However,  Adonijah  still  had 
designs  on  the  throne,  as  shown  by  his  request  for  the  hand  of 
Abishag  in  marriage.  To  prevent  this  symbolically  and  politically  signifi- 
cant marriage  from  taking  place,  Solomon  had  Adonijah  murdered 

Abortion  (1  Kings  2:17-25).  The  Bible  fails  to  explain  Solomon's  strangely 

violent  reaction  to  Adonijah's  request;  but  it  can  only  have  meant  that 

^^^^^^^^^^^      the  crown  was  at  stake.  This  in  turn  shows  that  a  sexual  union  with 

Abishag  was  a  prerequisite  for  royal  office.  See  Kingship. 

1.  Gaster,  514.  2.  Boulding,  191.  3.  Pritchard,  A.N.E.  1, 65;  2, 17, 21, 135, 202. 


The  ancients  generally  viewed  abortion  as  a  woman's  private  busi- 
ness, in  which  no  man  had  any  right  to  interfere.  As  Hartley  put  it, 
"Each  woman  must  be  free  to  make  her  own  choice;  no  man  may 
safely  decide  for  her;  she  must  give  life  gladly  to  be  able  to  give  it  well."1 
But  with  the  rise  of  patriarchal  religions — especially  among  the 
Greeks — came  a  belief  that  a  father's  semen  conveyed  the  soul  to  the 
fetus.  Men  feared  for  the  safety  of  any  of  their  body  effluvia  (hair 
cuttings,  fingernail  clippings,  spittle,  blood)  lest  sorcery  might  damage 
the  living  man  by  damaging  what  was  once  a  part  of  him.  The  fear 
was  particularly  pronounced  in  the  case  of  semen  as  an  extension  of  the 
father's  soul.  If  the  fetus  he  conceived  were  destroyed,  then  surely  the 
man  himself  would  suffer  spiritual  injury  according  to  the  principles  of 
magic.  St.  Thomas  Aquinas  held  this  same  opinion,  since  he  asserted 
that  semen  was  the  vehicle  of  souls.2  It  was  a  logical  extension  of  this 
notion  that  abortion  should  be  outlawed,  not  because  it  was  danger- 
ous to  women,  but  because  it  was  thought  (magically)  dangerous  to 

In  the  east,  however,  abortion  was  perfectly  legal  at  any  time 
before  the  fifth  month,  when  "quickening"  was  felt.  After  that, 
according  to  Brahman  scriptures,  a  woman  who  destroyed  her  fetus  was 
held  guilty  of  murder,  but  before  that  time  the  fetus  was  soulless  and 
could  be  destroyed  with  impunity.3  This  opinion  was  embodied  in  the 
Catholic  church's  Doctrine  of  Passive  Conception,  which  contradict- 
ed Aquinas  in  order  to  prove  that  the  soul  comes  only  from  God.  Up  to 
the  late  19th  century,  the  Doctrine  of  Passive  Conception  declared 
that  the  soul  arrives  in  the  fifth  month  of  pregnancy,  to  quicken  the 
fetus,  which  was  previously  soulless.4 

In  1 869  the  church  again  revised  its  opinion,  tacitly  admitting 
either  that  God  had  misinformed  his  church  about  his  method  of 
instilling  the  soul  into  the  body,  or  else  that  he  had  decided  to  alter  it. 
Pope  Pius  X  announced  that  the  soul  was  received  at  conception 
after  all.5 

Actually,  the  church  was  only  coming  around,  several  decades  late, 
to  follow  some  new  laws  made  by  man,  not  by  God.  Abortion  was 
not  classified  as  a  crime  in  Europe  until  the  19th  century.6  The  United 
States  first  defined  abortion  as  a  criminal  offense  in  the  year  1830.7 

The  church  now  falsely  pretends  that  it  officially  "always"  opposed 
abortion.  The  medieval  church's  ire  was  aroused  not  by  abortions  per 

se  but  by  the  midwives  who  performed  them.  The  handbook  of  the  Abraham 

Inquisition  stated:  "No  one  does  more  harm  to  the  Catholic  faith 

than  midwives." 8  (See  Midwifery.)  The  church  was  not  averse  to  ^^^^^^^^— 

killing  the  unborn,  since  it  burned  many  pregnant  women  as  witches. 

Even  the  pregnant  wife  of  a  city  councillor  was  tortured  and  burned  at 

Bamberg  in  1630.9 

Recent  opposition  to  legalization  of  abortion  apparently  stemmed 
from  ignorance  of  how  recently  it  was  illegalized;  and  also  from  male 
belief  that  women  must  be  controlled  by  forcing  childbirth  on  them. 
"Male  legislators  have  laughed  at  the  idea  of  the  legalization  of  abor- 
tion, hinting  at  unprecedented  promiscuity  (on  the  part  of  women,  not 
men)  if  such  a  thing  were  allowed.  Meanwhile,  thousands  of  desper- 
ate women  die  each  year  as  the  direct  result  of  male  laws  making 
abortion  illegal.  Women  are  learning  the  meaning  of  this  male 
laughter  and  indifference  in  the  face  of  the  most  hazardous  and  serious 
biological  enterprise  women  undertake,  willingly  or  not." 10 

The  Catholic  church  still  claims  authority  over  women's  repro- 
ductive functions.  Catholic  hospitals  will  refuse  to  abort  even  a  fetus 
conceived  by  rape.11 

I.  Hartley,  263.  2.  Rees,  277.  3.  Mahanirvanatantra,  269.  4.  Briffault  2, 450. 

5.  Sadock,  Kaplan  &  Freedman,  352.  6.  Encyc.  Brit,  "Abortion."  7.  Rugoff,  256. 
8.  Kramer  &  Sprenger,  66.  9.  Robbins,  509.  10.  Roszak,  299. 

I I .  Medea  &  Thompson,  1 14. 


This  name  meaning  "Father  Brahm"  seems  to  have  been  a  Semitic 
version  of  India's  patriarchal  god  Brahma;  he  was  also  the  Islamic 
Abrama,  founder  of  Mecca.  But  Islamic  legends  say  Abraham  was  a 
late  intruder  into  the  shrine  of  the  Kaaba.  He  bought  it  from  priestesses 
of  its  original  Goddess.1  Sarah,  "the  Queen,"  was  one  of  the  God- 
dess's titles,  which  became  a  name  of  Abraham's  biblical  "wife."2  Old 
Testament  writers  pretended  Sarah's  alliances  with  Egyptian  princes 
were  only  love-affairs  arranged  by  Abraham  for  his  own  profit — which 
unfortunately  presented  him  as  a  pimp  (Genesis  12:16)  as  well  as  a 
would-be  murderer  of  his  son  (Genesis  22:10). 

In  the  tale  of  Isaac's  near-killing,  Abraham  assumed  the  role  of 
sacrificial  priest  in  the  druidic  style,  to  wash  Jehovah's  sacred  trees 
with  the  Blood  of  the  Son:  an  ancient  custom,  of  which  the  sacrifice  of 
Jesus  was  only  a  late  variant.  Jehovah  first  appeared  to  Abraham  at 
the  sacred  oak  of  Shechem,  where  Abraham  built  his  altar.  Later 
Abraham  built  an  altar  to  the  oak  god  of  Mamre  at  Hebron.  Even  in 
the  4th  century  a.d.,  Constantine  said  Abraham's  home  at  the  Oak  of 
Mamre  was  still  a  pagan  shrine:  "It  is  reported  that  most  damnable 
idols  are  set  up  beside  it,  and  that  an  altar  stands  hard  by,  and  that 
unclean  sacrifices  are  constantly  offered."3 

1.  Briffault  3, 80.  2.  Graves,  W.G.,  163.  3.  Frazer,  F.O.T.,  335. 


var.  Abrasax 


Gnostic  god  identified  with  both  Mithra  and  Jehovah,  called  "Our 
Father"  and  "Lord  of  Hosts"  in  the  early  Christian  era.1  Like  Mithra, 
Abraxas  represented  "the  365  Aeons,"  365,000  years  allotted  to  the 
present  world's  life  span,  based  on  the  Hindu  idea  that  one  god- 
year  equals  a  thousand  man-years.  Jewish  scripturists  incorporated  this 
belief  into  Psalms  90:4,  and  into  the  First  Book  of  Adam  and  Eve, 
where  God  said  his  five  and  a  half  days  meant  5,500  years  for  man.2 
Numerical  values  of  Mithra's  and  Abraxas's  names  each  totaled  365. 
Both  were  gods  of  numerology. 

Orthodox  Christianity  came  to  view  Abraxas  as  a  demon,  because 
he  was  assimilated  to  the  Gnostic  "Lord  of  This  World"  whose 
attributes  were  both  divine  and  demonic.  As  the  Creator  of  the  material 
universe,  he  was  declared  a  devil  via  the  Gnostic  opinion  that  all 
matter  was  evil.  Thus,  he  and  his  works — the  material  world  itself — 
would  be  destroyed  at  doomsday.5  Nevertheless,  through  the  Middle 
Ages  Abraxas  was  a  favorite  deity  of  several  heretical  sects. 

1.  Budge,  AT.,  209.  2.  Forgotten  Books,  6.  3.  Legge  2,  239. 


The  Bible  presents  Absalom  as  either  David's  son  or  David's  neigh- 
bor (2  Samuel  12:1 1)  because  biblical  writers  couldn't  decide  just  where 
he  came  from.  He  was  important  only  as  a  surrogate  "king"  of  the 
Jews.  His  name,  Father  Salm,  was  a  widely  distributed  sacred-king 
name,  also  rendered  Salma,  Salem,  Salomon,  or  Solomon;  in  Assyria, 
Shalmaneser;  in  Crete,  the  "son  of  God"  Salmoneus.1  The  name 
meant  Prince  of  Peace,  which  was  synonymous  with  Lord  of  Death 
because  "Peace"  was  the  Lord's  word  of  farewell  as  he  descended  into 
the  underworld. 

Canaanites  worshipped  Father  Salm  at  the  city  of  Salem,  whose 
Palestinian  counterpart  was  Jeru-salem,  "House  of  Salem."  Kings  of 
David's  ancestral  tribe,  the  Kenites,  took  the  sacred  name  when  ruling 
in  Jerusalem.  Probably  several  of  these  kings  were  called  Solomon, 
including  the  biblical  one  whose  real  name  was  Jedidiah,  according  to  2 
Samuel  12:25. 

Absalom  received  the  sacred  name  and  died  as  a  surrogate  for  the 
incumbent  king,  David,  whose  mourning  for  him  was  really  a 
liturgical  formula.  He  called  Absalom  "my  son,  my  son,"  and  cried 
"Would  God  I  had  died  for  thee"  to  disguise  the  fact  that  the  victim 
really  had  died  in  his  place.  Among  ancient  Semites  generally,  someone 
had  to  die  for  the  king  at  regular  intervals,  to  preserve  the  fertility  of 
the  soil  and  the  people  with  his  blood.  See  Kingship. 

Time-honored  precedent  dictated  the  format  of  the  drama.  The 
chosen  victim  sat  on  the  throne,  and  publicly  copulated  with  the  royal 
women  under  a  marriage  canopy  (2  Samuel  16:22).  See  Huppah. 

After  this,  Absalom  was  declared  a  god  and  his  phallic  spirit  was  Abtu 

immortalized  by  an  erect  pillar  (2  Samuel  1 8: 1 8).  He  was  hung  on  a  Achilles 

sacred  oak  "between  heaven  and  earth,"  like  all  victims  offered  to  ^^^^^^^^^m 

deities  of  the  air  and  sky.2  He  was  pierced  through  the  heart  by  three 
darts,  like  the  Egyptian  god  Set.  He  was  dismembered  by  ten  men  in 
priests'  livery  (2  Samuel  18:14-1 5).  According  to  the  old  custom,  pieces 
of  him  were  then  distributed  to  the  fields  and  vineyards  to  encourage 
the  growth  of  crops. 

1.  Graves,  W.G.,  363-64.  2.  Angus,  173. 


The  "Abyss,"  sometimes  called  Fish  of  Isis,  representing  her  genital 
orifice,  which  "swallowed"  the  penis  of  Osiris.  Abtu  was  the  Egyptian 
name  of  Abydos,  an  early  yonic  shrine  where  the  god  died  and 
entered  his  Mother's  womb,  the  underworld.  See  Fish. 


"Abysmal  apathy,"  ecclesiastical  term  for  the  acute  depression  afflict- 
ing those  in  the  monastic  life.1  They  recognized  that  acedia 
made  monks  and  nuns  especially  susceptible  to  demonic  possession. 
See  Possession. 

1.  Mumford,  302. 


Mother  Goddess  who  gave  birth  to  the  creator  of  the  material  uni- 
verse, according  to  early  Gnostic  Christians.1  She  was  the  third 
person  of  a  primordial  female  trinity  consisting  of  Sige,  Sophia, 
and  Achamoth — comparable  to  northern  Europeans'  divine  Great- 
Grandmother,  Grandmother,  and  Mother.2  The  three  of  them 
chastised  the  male  creator  for  excessive  hubris  and  other  offenses. 
See  Sophia,  Saint. 

1.  Legge  2,  69.  2.  Turville-Petre,  147. 


Homeric  hero  of  the  Iliad,  greatest  of  the  Greek  warriors  at  the  siege 
of  Troy.  Achilles  was  a  son  of  the  Sea-goddess,  here  called  Thetis,  "She 
Who  Disposes."  Most  of  his  body  was  invulnerable  because  his 
mother  dipped  him  in  the  holy  river  Styx  when  he  was  an  infant;  but 
the  spot  on  his  heel,  where  her  fingers  held  him,  was  not  exposed  to 

Aciel  the  magical  waters.  Therefore  he  could  be,  and  was,  killed  by  an  arrow 

Adam  in  his  heel,  as  was  the  Hindu  Krishna.  Hence  any  area  of  vulnerability 

^^^^^^^^^^^      in  an  otherwise  strong  structure  or  person  is  known  as  an  Achilles  Heel. 

Like  Heracles,  Achilles  lived  for  some  time  in  female  disguise, 
recalling  the  priesthoods  of  Homeric  and  pre-Homeric  times  who 
wore  women's  clothing  to  attain  the  powers  of  divinity. 


Black  Sun  of  the  Chaldean  underworld;  the  god  of  darkness  at  the 
bottom  of  the  sevenfold  Pit,  exactly  mirroring  the  gods  of  light  at  the  top 
of  the  seventh  heaven.  Most  underground  gods  and  Lords  of  Death 
were  similar  to  Aciel — Hades,  Pluto,  Saturn,  Ahriman,  Apollyon, 
Python,  Zeus  Chthonios,  and  their  later  composite,  the  Judeo-Christian 
devil.  Jewish  writers  made  Aciel  a  "prince  of  Gehenna"  and  corrupted 
his  name  to  Arsiel.1  He  was  not  always  devilish  or  evil.  Oriental  religions 
generally  recognized  that  a  principle  of  darkness  was  necessary  to  life,  for 
only  in  the  nether  darkness  could  regeneration  take  place. 
1.  Budge,  G.E.  1,275. 


Sacred  king  of  the  Artemis  cult,  impersonator  of  the  Horned  God;  a 
man  "turned  into  a  stag"  and  devoured.  His  antecedents  went  back  to 
"paleolithic  paintings  in  the  Spanish  caves  of  Altamira  and  in  the 
Caverne  des  Trois  Freres  at  Ariege  dating  from  at  least  20,000  b.c."  l 

1.  Graves,  W.G.,  229. 

Adah  and  Zillah 

"Brilliance"  and  "Shadow,"  biblical  wives  of  Lamech;  a  trans- 
formation of  the  two-faced  Goddess  of  birth  and  death,  light  and  dark, 
Alpha  and  Omega — known  in  Anatolia  as  the  Two  Ladies,  in  Egypt 
as  the  Two  Mistresses.1  The  Goddess  appeared  in  many  light-and-dark, 
heaven-and-hell,  new-moon-and-old-moon  combinations,  such  as 
Isis-Nephthys,  Ishtar-Ereshkigal,  Kore-Persephone. 

1 .  Larousse,  29. 


Literally,  a  man  made  of  blood;  in  pre-biblical  myths,  a  creature 
formed  by  the  Goddess  of  Earth  from  her  own  clay  (adamah),  given  life 

by  her  blood.  (See  Eve.)  The  idea  of  Adam's  rib  was  taken  from  a  Adam-Kadmon 

Sumerian  Goddess  who  formed  infants'  bones  from  their  mothers'  ribs.  Adelphos 

She  was  both  Lady  of  the  Rib,  and  Lady  of  Life.  Her  name  carried  ^^^^^^^^^ 

both  meanings  at  once.1  See  Birth-giving,  Male. 
l.Hooke.M.E.M.,  115. 


Gnostic  image  of  primordial  man:  an  innocent  know-nothing,  a  brute 
Adam  made  of  mud.  Probably  based  on  the  most  ancient  Middle- 
Eastern  view  of  humanity  as  a  race  of  peasant-slaves  created  by  the 
gods  to  be  farm  workers  and  nothing  else.  In  occult  tradition  Adam- 
Kadmon  was  the  perennial  Fool,  or  Prince  of  Fools,  symbolizing 
the  unenlightened  man.  His  name  was  given  to  the  zero-numbered 

l.Gettings,  111. 


Sumero-Babylonian  version  of  the  first  man;  one  of  the  sources  for 
the  biblical  figure  of  Adam.  The  gods  tricked  him  and  his  descendants 
out  of  immortality  because  they  didn't  want  mere  mortals  to  become 
deathless  like  gods.  They  lied  to  the  man,  telling  him  the  magic  food  of 
eternal  life  would  kill  him  if  he  ate  it.  So  he  refused  it  and  lost  his 
chance  to  escape  death  forevermore.1 

The  biblical  God  also  showed  concern  lest  human  beings  should 
eat  the  food  of  eternal  life  (Genesis  3:22).  God  told  Adam  the  same 
lie  that  the  Babylonian  god  told  Adamu:  "Thou  shalt  not  eat  of  it:  for  in 
the  day  that  thou  eatest  thereof  thou  shalt  surely  die"  (Genesis  2:17). 
Adam  ate,  but  he  didn't  die  in  the  same  day.  On  the  contrary,  he  lived 
to  the  age  of  930  years  (Genesis  5:5).  It  was  the  serpent  who  told  the 
truth  about  the  controversial  food:  "Ye  shall  not  surely  die;  for  God 
doth  know  that  in  the  day  ye  eat  thereof,  then  your  eyes  shall  be 
opened,  and  ye  shall  be  as  gods"  (Genesis  3:4-5).  » 

l.Hooke.M.E.M.,  57-58. 


Greek  word  for  "brother,"  dating  back  to  the  matriarchal  period 
when  kinship  was  reckoned  only  through  a  mother.  Its  literal  meaning  is 
"one  from  the  same  womb."1 
l.Briffault  1,405. 



Hindu  Great  Goddess  as  the  Woman  Clothed  with  the  Sun,  mother 
of  all  the  lights  of  heaven.  She  gave  birth  to  the  twelve  zodiacal 
spirits  called  Adityas,  "Children  of  Aditi,"  among  whom  was  Aryaman, 
the  ancestral  god  of  all  "Aryans." '  See  Sun  Goddess. 

1 .  O'Flaherty,  339;  Mahanirvanatuntrx,  x  1 . 

Magic  Papyri 

Collections  of 
exorcisms,  invocations, 
charms,  and  spells 
widely  circulated  during 
the  early  Christian 
era,  used  as  bases  for 
later  grimoires  and 
Hermetic  texts. 


Greek  version  of  Semitic  Adonai,  "The  Lord,"  a  castrated  and 
sacrificed  savior-god  whose  love-death  united  him  with  Aphrodite,  or 
Asherah,  or  Mari.  In  Jerusalem,  his  name  was  Tammuz. 

Adonis  was  born  at  Bethlehem,  in  the  same  sacred  cave  that 
Christians  later  claimed  as  the  birthplace  of  Jesus.1  He  was  the  son  of 
the  Virgin  Myrrha,  a  temple-woman  or  hierodule,  identified  with  Mary 
by  early  Christians  who  called  Jesus's  mother  Myrrh  of  the  Sea.2 
Myrrh  was  a  symbol  of  the  Lord's  death,  in  both  pagan  and  Christian 
traditions.  He  returned  to  his  Great  Mother,  the  sea,  Aphrodite-Mari. 
Alexandrian  priestesses  celebrated  the  event  by  throwing  the  god's 
image  into  the  sea.3 

Syrian  Adonis  died  at  Easter  time,  with  the  flowering  of  the  red 
anemone,  supposedly  created  from  his  blood.  Its  name  was  derived 
from  his  title,  Naaman,  "darling."  He  was  also  called  the  Beautiful  God, 
like  other  gods  of  the  spring  flowering,  such  as  Narcissus,  Antheus, 

Another  form  of  the  same  god  was  Anchises,  castrated  after  his 
mating  with  Aphrodite.  Adonis,  too,  was  castrated:  "gored  in  the 
groin"  by  Aphrodite's  boar-masked  priest.  His  severed  phallus  became 
his  "son,"  the  ithyphallic  god  Priapus,  identified  with  Eros  in  Greece 
or  Osiris-Min  in  Egypt.  Priapus  carried  a  pruning  knife  in  token  of  the 
Lord's  necessary  castration  before  new  life  could  appear  on  earth.4 

Castrating  the  god  was  likened  to  reaping  the  grain,  which  Adonis 
personified.  His  rebirth  was  a  sprouting  from  the  womb  of  the  earth. 
Each  year,  sacred  pots  called  kernos  or  "gardens  of  Adonis"  were 
planted  with  wheat  or  millet,  and  allowed  to  sprout  at  Easter.  The 
custom  was  followed  in  Mediterranean  countries  up  to  the  present 
century.5  The  clay  pot  signified  the  womb.  Sometimes  in  processions 
it  was  a  gigantic  kernos  carried  on  a  chariot,  having  the  special  name 
of  kalanthos.6 

Adonis  died  and  rose  again  in  periodic  cycles,  like  all  gods  of 
vegetation  and  fertility.  He  was  also  identified  with  the  sun  that  died 
and  rose  again  in  heaven.  An  Orphic  hymn  said  of  him:  "Thou  shining 
and  vanishing  in  the  beauteous  circle  of  the  Horae,  dwelling  at  one 
time  in  gloomy  Tartarus,  at  another  elevating  thyself  to  Olympus, 
giving  ripeness  to  fruits."7  He  was  buried  in  the  same  cave  (womb) 
that  gave  him  birth.  It  is  now  the  Milk  Grotto,  whose  dust  is  supposed  to 


benefit  nursing  mothers;  it  was  said  Mary  nursed  Jesus  there.8  The  Adultery 

Grotto  was  sealed  as  Jesus's  sepulchre,  for  in  the  cults  of  both  Jesus  and  Aeneas 

Adonis  the  virgin  womb  was  the  same  as  the  virgin  tomb,  "wherein  ^^^^^^^^^™ 

never  man  before  was  laid"  (Luke  23:53). 

The  Magic  Papyri  said  Jesus  and  Adonis  also  shared  the  same 
name-magic.  "Adonai"  was  the  highest  god,  having  the  True  Name 
that  could  work  miracles.9  Centuries  later,  Christian  authorities  declared 
that  "Adonai"  was  a  demon. 

1.  Doane,  155;  Briffault  3, 97.  2.  Ashe,  48.  3.  Frazer,  G.B.,  390. 

4.  Graves,  G.M.  1, 69,  72.  5.  Frazer,  G.B.,  400-401.  6.  Briffault  3, 126 

7.  Baring-Gould,  C.M.M.A.,  286.  8.  Budge,  A.T.,  319-20.  9.  M.  Smith  124 


From  adalterum  se  conferre,  "to  confer  (property)  upon  another."1 
In  the  age  of  matrilineal  inheritance,  female  property  owners  could 
leave  cast-off  husbands  destitute  by  conferring  their  "matrimony" 
(wealth)  upon  another.  Patriarchal  societies  therefore  sought  to  insure 
wives'  sexual  fidelity  for  economic  reasons.2 

To  this  end,  the  Bible  commands  stoning  to  death  an  adulterous 
wife  or  a  bride  suspected  of  oremarital  affairs  (Deuteronomy  22:21). 
The  latter  rule  was  to  invalicate  the  pagan  custom  of  premarital 
defloration  by  a  stranger,  lest  someone  other  than  the  husband  might 
have  a  claim  on  the  bride's  property.5  Hebrew  patriarchs  also  considered 
"adulterous"  a  widow  who  might  remarry  "unto  a  stranger"  outside 
the  paternal  clan.  Widows  were  ordered  to  marry  the  brother  of  a 
deceased  husband,  so  their  property  would  remain  under  the  control 
of  male  in-laws.  This  law  of  Levirate  Marriage  with  its  apparently  divine 
sanction  caused  much  trouble  in  later  centuries. 

1.  Brasch,  125.  2.  Hartley,  165, 171.  3.  Harding,  135. 


Goatskin  breastplate  of  the  Goddess  Athene,  ornamented  with 
oracular  serpents  and  the  petrifying  head  of  Medusa.  The  original 
Libyan  Athene  was  herself  the  Gorgon  mask  surrounded  by  serpents, 
served  by  priestesses  who  wore  the  aegis  as  a  goatskin  apron.  It  was  a 
badge  of  divine  power.  Later  Homeric  myths  considered  the  aegis  so 
essential  to  sovereignty  that  not  even  Zeus  could  rule  the  other  gods 
without  it. 


Son  of  Aphrodite,  founder  of  Rome  according  to  one  version  of  the 
story.  He  saved  the  sacred  fetish  called  Palladium  from  the  sack  of 


Aeon  Troy,  and  carried  it  to  the  site  of  Rome,  where  it  was  installed  in  the 

Agape,  Saint  temple  of  Vesta.  Like  all  sacred  kings  he  visited  the  underworld, 

^^^^^^^^^^^      clutching  the  magic  mistletoe  branch  that  would  insure  his  return  to 

1.  Graves,  W.G,  101. 


"The  Year,"  title  of  any  god  annually  sacrificed  and  reborn,  such  as 
the  Savior  born  of  the  Virgin  Kore  at  Alexandria  every  January.1  The 
classic  Aeon  appears  to  have  been  based  on  Tantric  worship  of  Shiva- 
Prajapati,  who  became  a  Lord  of  Death  each  year  to  bring  about 
redemption  of  human  life.  According  to  the  Aitareya  Brahmana, 
"The  Year  is  the  same  as  Death;  and  whosoever  knows  this  Year  to  be 
Death,  his  life  that  year  does  not  destroy."2 
1.  Campbell,  M.I.,  34.  2.  Eliade,  M.E.R.,  79. 


"Asians,"  the  Norse  gods  led  by  Father  Odin,  who  invaded  the  lands 
of  the  elder  deities  (Vanir).  The  Aesir  came  from  Asaland,  or  Asaheimr, 
meaning  both  "land  of  gods"  and  "Asia."  Some  claimed  their  home 
city  was  Troy.  Such  myths  record  the  recurrent  western  migrations  of 
Indo-European  or  Aryan  peoples.  The  Norse  word  for  a  god  was 
Ass,  "Asian."  The  Egyptian  god  Osiris  was  formerly  Ausar,  "the 
Asian."2  Etruscans  also  called  their  ancestral  deities  Asians.3  Phoeni- 
cian king  Cadmus  was  "the  Oriental,"  from  kedem,  "the  Orient."4 

The  Asian  invaders  were  aggressive.  The  Voluspa  said  war 
occurred  "for  the  first  time  in  the  world"  when  the  Aesir  attacked  the 
peace-loving  people  of  the  Goddess.5 

1.  Turville-Petre,  23.  2.  Budge,  G.E.  2,  1 13.  3.  Keightley,  61.  4.  Massa,  40. 
5.  Dumezil,  71. 

Agape,  Saint 

"Love  Feast,"  first  of  Aphrodite's  holy  whores  (Horae),  was  canon- 
ized as  a  Christian  saint  when  icons  of  the  Horae  were  re-labeled 
"virgin  martyrs":  Sts.  Agape,  Chione,  and  Irene.1  Agape  originally 
personified  the  rite  of  sexual  communion,  as  practiced  in  Aphrodite's 
temples  and  adopted  by  some  early  Christian  sects  as  a  Tantric  type 
of  "spiritual  marriage."  By  the  7th  century  a.d.  the  agape  ceremony  was 
declared  heretical,  but  it  continued  secretly  throughout  the  Middle 
Ages.2  See  Menstrual  Blood. 

1.  Attwater,  34.  2.  Sadock,  Kaplan  &  Freedman,  23. 


Agatha,  Saint  Agatha,  Saint 

"Kindly  One,"  a  spurious  saint  based  on  images  of  the  lactating  Agnes,  Saint 

Goddess  offering  bared  breasts  in  the  usual  Ishtar  pose.  As  a  fictitious  ■■■■■■■■■p 

"virgin  martyr,"  Agatha  refused  to  marry  the  king  of  Sicily,  who 

vengefully  ordered  her  breasts  sliced  off.  Early  Christian  icons  showed 

her  carrying  them  on  a  patera  (offering  dish)  as  St.  Lucy  carried  her 

eyeballs.1  Later,  the  amputated  breasts  were  misinterpreted  as  bells;  so 

Agatha  became  patroness  of  bell  founders.2  Her  legend  may  have 

arisen  from  the  Christian  habit  of  knockingthe  breasts  off  statues  of 

priestesses  and  Goddesses.3 

The  original  Agatha  was  surnamed  Tyche  (Fate),  and  worshipped 
at  the  subterranean  womb-oracle  of  Trophonios  at  Lebadeia.4  Like 
the  Goddess  of  the  similar  womb-oracle  at  Delphi,  she  was  accompa- 
nied by  a  Great  Serpent:  the  oracular  spirit  named  Agathodemon, 
god  of  Kindly  Fortune,  worshipped  by  Orphic  sects  up  to  the  5th  and 
6th  centuries  a.d.  Far  from  tormenting  Agatha  as  her  Christian 
legend  claimed,  Sicilian  kings  won  their  thrones  by  way  of  a  sacred 
marriage  with  her.  Many  of  these  kings  took  the  name  of  Agathocles, 
"Glory  of  Agatha,"  just  as  Heracles  called  himself  "Glory  of  Hera."5 

The  Golden  Legend  conferred  on  St.  Agatha  the  curious  title  of 
Savior  of  Her  Country,  saying  "She  accomplished  the  deliverance  of 
her  native  land."6  This  probably  referred  to  votive  images  of  the 
Goddess  which  were  supposed  to  preserve  the  land  from  all  external 

1.  Brewster, 95.  2.  Attwater,  34.  3 .  Lamusse, 2\\ .  4.  Guthrie,  225. 
5.  d'Alviella,  20.  6.  de  Voragine,  161. 

Agnes,  Saint 

Scholars  say  "next  to  the  Evangelists  and  Apostles  there  is  no  saint 
whose  effigy  is  older"  than  the  popular  St.  Agnes.1  Indeed,  she  seems  to 
have  been  much  older  than  evangelists  and  apostles:  a  Roman-Jewish 
version  of  the  Holy  Ewe  Lamb  (Agna),  virgin  incarnation  of  the  Ewe- 
goddess  Rachel. 

Like  the  virgin  Mary,  Agnes  came  from  "immaculate"  parents. 
The  Portiforium  ad  usam  Sarum  said  her  mother  was  a  virgin,  her 
father  a  purified  soul  who  renounced  sexual  love.2  Like  all  the  legend- 
ary virgin-martyrs,  Agnes  was  slain  because  she  renounced  the  love 
of  a  pagan  youth.  However,  her  true  nature  as  an  orgiastic  priestess- 
heroine  might  be  guessed  from  her  ineradicable  connections  with 
love  and  marriage.  A  priest  became  her  bridegroom  by  placing  a 
wedding  ring  on  the  finger  of  her  statue,  as  if  it  were  the  statue  of 
Aphrodite-Galatea.3  Bollandus's  Acts  of  the  Saints  said  Agnes  founded 
her  nunnery  in  a  house  of  sacred  prostitutes,  like  priestesses  of 
Aphrodite-Salacia.4  All  the  way  up  to  the  present  century,  St.  Agnes's 
Eve  was  the  traditional  time  for  girls  to  divine  the  names  of  their 
future  lovers  by  means  of  magic  mirrors.5 


Agni  Unfortunately  for  St.  Agnes's  credibility,  she  is  said  to  have  suf- 

Ahriman  fered  in  the  reign  of  Constantine — when  Christians  were  not 

^ wmgn      persecuted.  It  was  also  falsely  claimed  that  Agnes  cured  Constantine's 
daughter  of  leprosy.  Roman  Jews  were  said  to  have  worshipped  her  in 
a  church  on  the  Via  Nomentana,  built  in  her  honor  in  350  a.d.;  but 
Roman  Jews  didn't  worship  Christian  saints,  and  no  churches  were 
built  in  honor  of  female  martyrs  in  350  a.d.6  Roman  Jews  probably  did, 
however,  worship  at  least  one  version  of  Agna  the  Holy  Lamb. 

Though  Catholic  scholars  now  say  Agnes's  legends  have  been 
found  "disappointingly"  devoid  of  truth,  her  relics  are  still  preserved 
in  Rome  and  constantly  adored  by  the  faithful.7 

1.  Brewster,  76.  2.  Hazlitt,  2-3.  3.  de  Voragine,  113.  4.  Seligmann,  157. 
5.  Brewster,  75.  6.  de  Voragine,  112.  7.  Attwater,  35. 


Vedic  fire  god  wedded  to  Kali  under  her  name  of  Ambika,  "Little 
Mother."  She  represented  the  primal  ocean  of  blood  from  which  all 
things  arose  at  creation;  he  represented  the  fructifying  fire  from 
heaven  (lightning);  their  combination  meant  vital  heat.  Vedic  sages  said 
the  soul  of  all  the  universe,  moving  and  still,  is  made  of  a  combination 
of  blood  and  fire.  Agni  also  appeared  to  consume  sacrifices  that  were 
burned  on  their  altars.  He  was  a  prototype  of  such  Indo-European 
fire-bringers  as  Lucifer,  Prometheus,  Etana,  Hephaestus,  and  Heracles.1 
1.0'Flaherty,97,  148,339. 


Great  Serpent,  Lord  of  Darkness,  and  rival  of  the  sun  god  in  Persian 
myth;  leader  of  the  daevas,  whom  Zoroastrians  called  devils,  though  the 
original  Indo-Iranian  word  meant  "gods."1  (See  Serpent.) 

The  story  of  Ahriman's  revolt  against  his  twin  brother,  the  Heav- 
enly Father,  of  their  war  in  heaven,  and  of  the  daevas'faW  to  the 
underworld,  gave  western  Europe  its  basic  myth  of  the  fall  of  Lucifer, 
and  its  dualistic  division  of  the  universe  between  forces  of  good  and 
evil.  Persian  prophets  predicted  the  defeat  of  Ahriman  and  his  dark 
angels  during  the  final  battle  at  the  end  of  the  world,  and  Judeo- 
Christian  prophets  adopted  the  same  idea.  As  the  Serpent,  Ahriman  also 
tempted  the  first  man  and  woman. 

But  Ahriman  was  not  considered  inferior  to  the  Heavenly  Father. 
On  the  contrary,  they  were  twins,  born  simultaneously  from  the 
womb  of  the  primal  Crone  of  Time  (Zurvan).  Ahriman's  influence  on 
earth  was  greater  than  his  celestial  brother's,  because  he  created  the 
material  world.  Persian  Magi  regarded  him  as  the  source  of  their  magic 
power,  and  offered  sacrifices  to  him.  Mithraic  shrines  from  Budapest 


to  York  were  dedicated  to  "Arimanius"  as  the  underground  god  of 
magic  arts.2 

Ahriman  was  not  originally  Persian.  He  was  the  Vedic  god 
Aryaman,  maker  of  "Aryans" — the  people  he  created  of  clay. 
Aryaman  was  one  of  the  twelve  zodiacal  sons  of  the  Goddess  Aditi.3 
He  also  had  a  Celtic  incarnation,  as  the  divine  king  Eremon. 

l.Lamusse,  317.  2.  Legge  2, 239.  3.  O'Flaherty,  339. 

Ahura  Mazda 

Ahura  Mazda 

Persian  sun  god  born  as  the  twin  brother  of  the  dark  god  Ahriman 
from  the  womb  of  Infinite  Time,  the  Primal  Creatress.  The  fight 
between  the  brothers,  resulting  in  Ahriman's  fall  from  heaven,  had 
the  same  cause  as  the  rivalry  between  Cain  and  Abel — that  is,  the 
sacrificial  offering  of  one  was  accepted  by  the  older  deity;  that  of  the 
other  was  rejected.  The  older  deity  was  Vayu,  probably  a  derivative  of 
the  Vedic  celestial  androgyne  Varuna,  or  Mitra-Varuna,  whose  other 
name  became  "Mithra". 

The  story  of  the  battle  and  the  fall  might  have  been  a  revision  of 
the  ancient  creation  myth  concerning  the  Goddess's  punishment  of 
her  first-created  serpent-consort  for  his  hubris.1  The  name  Ahura  was 
once  a  feminine  name.2 

Middle  Persian  forms  of  the  name  were  Ormazd,  Ormizd,  or 
Hormizd.  These  names  were  commonly  taken  by  kings  who  embod- 
ied the  god's  solar  spirit,  especially  kings  of  the  Iranian  Sassanian 
dynasty.3  Being  naturally  deified  after  death,  such  kings  had  cult 
centers  and  groups  of  priests  who  kept  up  their  worship.  One  of  these 
apparently  became  converted  to  Christianity  and  contributed  another 
apocryphal  saint  to  the  Christian  canon,  usually  misspelled  "St.  Hor- 
midz,"  though  Hormizd  was  obviously  meant.  This  saint  was  vaguely 
placed  in  the  5th  century  a.d.  and  declared  a  Persian  martyr,  though  his 
legend  lacked  every  kind  of  foundation,  even  that  of  common  sense. 
It  was  claimed  that,  for  a  refusal  to  renounce  Christianity,  St.  Hormidz 
was  condemned  to  serve  as  a  military  camel-driver — which  may  not 
have  been  precisely  a  life  of  luxury,  but  hardly  qualified  as  martyrdom.4 
This  sun-god-turned-saint  was  revered  through  the  early  Middle 
Ages  by  cult  centers  located  in  Persia  and  Iraq. 

1.  Graves,  G.M.  1,  27.  2.  Budge,  E.M.,  144.  3.  Encyc.  Brit.,  "Ormizd." 
4.  Atrwater,  p.  173. 


Eponymous  ancestral  Goddess  of  Akkad,  called  the  Old  Woman,  the 
Grandmother,  or  the  Midwife.  She  was  the  "Water-drawer"  who 
brought  gods  to  birth  out  of  the  primal  deep— the  feminine  prototype 

var.  Ormazd, 
Ormizd,  Hormizd 


Aladdin  of  Aquarius.  A  similar  Central-American  Goddess  figure  had  curiously 

similar  names,  Acat  or  Akna.1 

^^^^^^^^^^^  Akka  had  many  related  names.  Greeks  called  her  Acco  or  Acca, 

"She  Who  Fashions."2  To  Lapps  and  Finns  in  northern  Europe,  she 
was  Mader-Akka — Mother  Akka — who  created  humanity.3  To  Ro- 
mans, she  was  Acca  Larentia,  or  Acca  the  mother  of  the  Lares,  which 
were  archaic  ancestral  spirits  left  over  from  pre-Roman  Latium. 

Acca  Larentia  was  variously  called  the  first  Vestal  Virgin,  or  a 
temple  prostitute,  or  a  rich  courtesan,  or  a  virgin  bride  of  God — roles 
that  may  seem  mutually  contradictory  but  were  not  so  (see  Prostitu- 
tion; Vestal  Virgins).  As  the  divine  midwife,  she  helped  Rhea  Silvia 
give  birth  to  Romulus  and  Remus,  founders  of  Rome.  She  drew  the 
divine  twins  out  of  their  floating  basket  on  the  river  Tiber,  just  as 
Akka  of  Akkad  drew  Sargon  out  of  his  floating  basket  on  the  river  Tigris, 
and  "Pharaoh's  daughter"  drew  Moses  from  the  Nile. 

Acca  Larentia  was  honored  every  year  at  the  Roman  festival  of  the 
Larentalia.  She  was  assimilated  to  the  cult  of  Heracles,  who  became 
one  of  her  husbands.  In  his  Roman  temple,  Heracles  was  mated  to 
"Acca,  the  Maker."4 

1.  Lamusse,  439.  2.  Graves,  CM.  2,  190.  3.  Larousse,  306.  4.  Graves,  G.M.  2,  190. 


Marco  Polo  described  Aladdin  quite  differently  from  his  mythic 
portrait  in  the  Arabian  Nights.  As  the  fairy  tale  said,  he  was  master  of  a 
secret  cave  of  treasures,  but  the  cave  was  real.  It  was  located  in  the 
fortified  valley  of  Alamut  near  Kazvin,  headquarters  of  the  fanatical 
brotherhood  of  hashish im  or  "hashish-takers,"  which  Christians  mis- 
pronounced "assassins." 

Aladdin  was  an  Old  Man  of  the  Mountain,  hereditary  title  of  the 
chief  of  hashishim,  beginning  with  a  Shi'ite  leader  Hasan  ibn  al- 
Sabbah,  whose  name  meant  Son  of  the  Goddess  (see  Arabia).  The  later 
name  of  Aladdin  was  taken  by  several  chieftains.  In  1297  the  region 
of  Gujarat  was  conquered  by  a  warrior  called  the  Bloody  One, 

By  means  of  drugs  and  an  elaborate  "paradise"  staffed  by  human 
Houris,  initiates  into  the  brotherhood  were  persuaded  that  they  died 
and  went  to  heaven,  or  Fairyland,  where  gardens  and  palaces  occupied 
the  valley  of  the  secret  cave.  Special  conduits  flowed  with  the  Four 
Rivers  of  Paradise:  water,  wine,  milk,  and  honey.  Each  candidate  was 
drugged  into  a  stupor,  then  woke  and  "perceived  himself  surrounded 
by  lovely  damsels,  singing,  playing,  and  attracting  his  regards  by  the 
most  fascinating  caresses,  serving  him  also  with  delicate  foods  and 
exquisite  wines;  until  intoxicated  with  excess  of  enjoyment  amidst  actual 


rivulets  of  milk  and  wine,  he  believed  himself  assuredly  in  Paradise,  Alako 

and  felt  an  unwillingness  to  relinquish  its  delights." 2  Alani 

After  this  period  of  bliss,  the  warrior  was  again  drugged  and  taken         ^^^^^^^^^^ 
out  of  the  secret  place,  to  fight  in  the  service  of  the  Old  Man  of  the 
Mountain.  He  fought  fearlessly,  in  the  belief  that  death  in  battle  would 
instantly  carry  him  back  to  that  heaven  cleverly  made  real  for  him. 
Promises  of  sexual  bliss  were  the  real  key  to  the  ferocity  of  Islamic 
armies.  The  Koran  said  each  hero  who  died  in  battle  would  achieve 
an  eternity  of  pleasure  among  heavenly  Houris  with  "big,  beautiful, 
lustrous  eyes."3 

Aladdin's  sect  worshipped  the  moon  as  a  symbol  of  the  Goddess, 
like  the  Vessel  of  Light  associated  with  both  the  virgin  Mary  and  the 
Holy  Grail  in  western  Europe.4  Eastern  poets  said  the  Vessel  of  Light 
produced  djinn,  "spirits  of  ancestors."  This  Vessel  was  simultaneous- 
ly Aladdin's  lamp,  source  of  djinni  (a  genie),  and  the  moon,  source  of  all 
souls  according  to  the  most  ancient  beliefs.  The  moon  was  the  realm 
of  the  dead,  and  also  the  realm  of  rebirth  since  all  souls  were  recycled 
through  many  revolutions  of  the  wheels  of  Fate.  The  divine  Houris 
also  dwelt  in  the  moon,  which  probably  was  the  light  of  Aladdin's  secret 
cave.  See  Moon. 

The  Arabian  Nights  gave  the  password  to  Aladdin's  cave:  Open, 
Sesame.  This  was  related  to  Egyptian  seshemu,  "sexual  intercourse." 
The  hieroglyphic  sign  of  seshemu  was  a  penis  inserted  into  an  arched 
yoni-symbol.5  Every  ancient  culture  used  some  form  of  sexual 
symbolism  for  the  idea  of  man-entering-paradise. 

l.Zimmer(54.  2.  Polo  53-54.  3.  Campbell,  Oc.  M,  430.  4.  Wilkins,  58. 
5.  Budge,  E.L.,  58. 


Gypsy  "son  of  God"  who  takes  the  souls  of  gypsies  to  the  moon  after 
death.  Gypsies  said  Alako  had  two  enemies:  the  devil,  and  Christ.1 

1.  Trigg,  202. 


"Hunting  dogs,"  Greek  name  for  the  Scythian  tribes  who  wor- 
shipped Artemis  as  their  Divine  Huntress.  The  name  Alan  still  carried 
the  original  Greek  meaning  of  a  hunting  dog  when  it  became  popular 
among  the  Scots  during  the  Middle  Ages.  Artemis  was  often  called  the 
Great  Bitch,  and  her  hunting  priestesses  were  the  "sacred  bitches" 
who  chased,  killed,  and  consumed  boar-gods  and  stag-gods  like  Phorcis 
or  Actaeon.  Thus,  to  Christians,  "son  of  a  bitch"  meant  a  devil 
worshipper — that  is,  a  pagan  devotee  of  the  Goddess.  See  Dog. 


Alban,  Saint  Alban,  Saint 

Alchemy  Fictitious  saint  called  "protomartyr  of  England,"  allegedly  the  first 

mmmmtammmatmm      Christian  martyr  in  the  British  isles,  slain  on  Holmhurst  Hill  in  287  a.d. 
However,  no  writer  made  any  reference  to  him  until  two  hundred 
years  later.  Gildas  finally  developed  St.  Alban's  legend  in  the  6th 
century,  with  some  confusion  of  dates.  He  claimed  St.  Alban  shel- 
tered a  Christian  fleeing  from  Diocletian's  persecution,  twenty  years 
before  Diocletian's  persecution  began.1 

The  real  origin  of  St.  Alban  probably  was  nothing  more  than  the 
British  Goddess's  title  of  Albion,  "White  Moon."  Her  shrine  at 
Holmhurst  Hill  had  a  sacred  fountain,  always  shown  between  the  feet  of 
"Alban"  in  Christian  art.2  In  Bede's  day  the  place  was  still  holy,  and 
someone  had  to  invent  a  Christianized — and  preferably  masculinized — 
legend  for  it. 

l.Attwater,  37.  2.  Brewster,  293. 


King  of  the  underworld  in  Teutonic  myth,  identified  with  the  Saxon 
fairy-king  Oberon.  Alberich  appeared  in  the  Nibelungenlied  as  a  chtho- 
nian  dwarf  master-smith,  guardian  of  the  Rhinemaidens'  buried 
treasure.  Like  most  versions  of  the  demonic  fairy  king,  he  was  a  shape- 
shifter,  appearing  in  such  typically  diabolic  disguises  as  a  toad  and  a 
serpent.  He  is  still  familiar  to  opera  fans  as  a  character  in  Wagner's  Ring 
of  the  Nibelung. 


In  Arabic,  alchemy  meant  "matter  of  Egypt,"  Al-Khemeia,  from 
Khemennu,  "Land  of  the  Moon,"  an  old  name  for  Egypt.1  The  Arabs 
thought  alchemy  was  invented  by  Egyptians.  Christians  learned  it 
from  the  Arabs  and  believed  it  was  invented  by  Thoth,  or  Hermes,  or 
the  virgin  Mary.2 

"Mary  the  Jewess"  was  said  to  have  been  the  first  great  alchemist. 
She  discovered  distillation  of  alcohol  in  the  time  of  the  Caliphate,  and 
invented  the  double  boiler,  still  called  bain-marie  (Mary's  bath)  in 
France.  During  the  Renaissance  some  female  alchemists  were  perse- 
cuted as  witches.  Julius,  Duke  of  Brunswick,  roasted  one  of  them  alive 
in  an  iron  chair  in  1 575,  because  she  could  not  tell  him  how  to  make 
gold  out  of  base  metal.3 

As  a  system  of  mysticism,  alchemy  was  permeated  by  sexual 
symbols.  So-called  "copulations"  and  "marriages"  figured  in  alchem- 
ical procedures.  Sexual  drawings  enlivened  the  texts.  The  Alchemical 
Rebus  was  the  usual  bisexual  image  of  male  and  female  powers  in 
union,  "a  Hermaphrodite,  born  of  two  mountains,  Mercury  and 


Venus."  Sun  and  moon  were  shown  as  naked  male  and  female  Alchemy 

figures,  the  moon  saying  to  her  spouse,  "O  Sun,  thou  dost  nothing 

alone  if  I  am  not  present  with  my  strength,  as  a  cock  is  helpless  -      - 

without  a  hen."4 

Alchemists  sought  the  divine  female  power  Sapientia,  or  Sophia 
(Wisdom),  the  Gnostics'  Great  Mother.  Valentin's  L'Azoth  des 
philosophes  showed  her  as  a  crowned,  fish-tailed  Aphrodite  rising  from 
the  sea,  spouting  streams  of  milk  and  blood  from  her  breasts.  This 
was  a  direct  copy  of  Hindu  representations  of  the  virgin  Maya,  mother 
of  the  world.5  Alchemists  called  her  the  Siren  of  the  Philosophers, 
"born  of  our  deep  Sea  (Maria),  who  pours  milk  and  blood  from  her 

An  Italian  manuscript  showed  two  bearded  sages  avidly  sucking 
her  breasts,  to  absorb  the  secrets  symbolized  by  her  colors,  milk  white 
and  blood  red.7  The  same  colors  appeared  on  the  Flower  of  the 
Alchemists,  a  five-petaled  red-and-white  rose,  sometimes  called  the 
womb  of  the  FiJium  philosophorum  or  Glorious  Child.  The  same  rose 
symbolized  the  virgin  Mary.8 

Mary-Sophia  was  the  Goddess  of  both  Gnosticism  and  alchemy. 
The  Philosopher's  Stone  was  sometimes  called  the  Sophistical 
Stone.9  Alchemical  writings  called  the  hidden  Goddess  the  Mother  of 
Wisdom,  combining  elements  of  the  Madonna  with  those  of  the 
pagan  mother-image: 

lam  the  flower  of  the  fleldand  the  lily  of  the  valleys.  lam  the  mother  of 
fair  love  and  of  fear  and  of  knowledge  and  of  holy  hope. .  .lam  the 
mediator  of  the  elements. . . .  lam  the  law  in  the  priest  and  the  word  in 
the  prophet  and  the  counsel  in  the  wise.  I  will  kill  and  I  will  make  to 
live  and  there  is  none  that  can  deliver  out  of  my  hand. 10 

Since  the  ancient  Great  Mother  was  represented  by  a  Holy 
Vase,  alchemists  sought  the  vas  hermeticum  (Womb  of  Hermes),  which 
resembled  the  vas  spirituale  identified  with  the  virgin  Mary.  Arab 
alchemists  adopted  the  rosary  from  Far-Eastern  cults  of  the  Goddess, 
whose  rosary-symbol  was  a  vase-shaped  bead,  from  which  the  other 
beads  were  said  to  "spring  up."  Rosaries  dedicated  to  Mary  also  had  the 
vase-shaped  bead.  Arabs  called  the  rosary  wardija,  "rose-garden," 
copying  the  Hindu  japamala,  "rose-chaplet,"  the  necklace  of  Kali  Ma, 
who  ruled  the  elements — as  alchemists  also  hoped  to  do.  A  Diirer 
drawing  of  1 506  shows  a  turbanned  Arab  alchemist  with  his  rosary  at  his 

Many  alchemical  texts  presented  obvious  sexual  allegories,  e.g. 
from  the  Turba  Philosophorum:  "Take  the  white  tree,  build  him  a 
round,  dark,  dew-encircled  house,  and  set  in  it  a  hundred-year-old  man 
and  close  it  so  that  no  wind  or  dust  can  get  to  him;  then  leave  him 
there  eight  days.  I  tell  you  that  that  man  will  not  cease  to  eat  of  the  fruit 
of  that  tree  till  he  becomes  a  youth.  O  what  a  wonderful  nature,  for 
here  is  the  father  become  son  and  born  again." 12 

Similar  allegorical  references  to  the  mysteries  of  reproduction  were 


Alchemy  common  among  Chinese  alchemists,  who  spoke  of  attaining  "longev- 

ity through  liquid  gold,"  by  "a  red  sulphurous  ingredient  in 

^^^^^^^^^^^     goldmaking" — the  male  and  female  essences  in  Taoist  and  Tantric 
symbolism  (see  Menstrual  Blood).  One  text  said: 

/  must  diligently  plant  my  own  field.  There  is  within  it  a  spiritual  germ 
that  may  live  a  thousand  years.  Its  flower  is  like  yellow  gold.  Its  bud  is 
not  large,  but  its  seeds  are  round  and  like  unto  a  spotless  gem  [i.e.,  the 
Jewel  in  the  Lotus].  Its  growth  depends  upon  the  soil  of  the  central 
place  [womb],  but  its  irrigation  must  proceed  from  a  higher  fountain.  Alter 
nine  years  [or,  months]  of  cultivation,  root  and  branch  may  be  trans- 
planted to  the  heaven  of  the  higher  genii. n 

Churchmen  were  baffled  by  alchemical  language,  and  usually 
let  practitioners  of  this  particular  "devilish  art"  alone,  unless  they  were 
women.  Yet  the  official  opposition  to  the  whole  science  kept  many  of 
the  best  minds  away  from  it,  thus  helping  to  retard  the  development  of 
modern  chemistry  out  of  alchemical  experimentation.14 

The  deep  secrecy  of  the  alchemists'  operations  still  puzzles  many 
modern  scholars.  Carl  Jung  wondered  why  these  chemical  processes 
had  to  be  disguised  and  distorted  by  thickets  of  mythological  symbolism; 
or,  if  a  mystical  sort  of  enlightenment  was  being  described,  why  it  was 
tied  to  laboratory  procedures.15  The  answer  could  be  found  in  the 
alchemists'  political  environment.  "Natural  science"  was  often  de- 
fined as  heresy  by  the  church.  In  periods  when  the  Inquisition  was 
active,  almost  anyone  meddling  with  such  matters  was  at  risk.  The 
best  defense  was  deliberately  obscure  allegorization,  in  which  theologi- 
cal principles — if  any — could  be  hidden. 

Some  of  the  secret  is  given  away  by  the  preponderance  of  sexual 
symbols  in  alchemical  literature.  "Copulation  of  Athene  and  Her- 
mes" might  mean  mixing  sulfur  and  mercury  in  a  retort;  or  it  might 
mean  a  sexual  "working"  of  the  alchemist  and  his  lady-love.  Illustra- 
tions in  alchemical  books  suggested  sexual  mysticism  more  often  than 
not.  Adam  and  Eve  were  shown  as  naked  lovers,  halves  of  the  Primal 
Androgyne.  Adam  was  pictured  as  incomplete  male,  who  had  to  be 
pierced  by  the  Arrow  of  Mercurius  to  stimulate  his  passionate  desire 
for  Wisdom.  After  this,  his  phallus  bloomed  into  the  flowering  Tree  of 
Life,  signifying  that  he  was  ready  for  full  union  with  a  Goddess-like 
Eve,  who  would  make  him  complete.16 

Mercurius  or  Hermes  was  the  alchemical  hero  who  fertilized 
the  Holy  Vase,  a  womb-like  sphere  or  egg  from  which  the  films 
philosophorum  was  to  be  born.  This  vessel  may  have  been  real,  a 
laboratory  flask  or  retort;  more  often,  it  seemed  to  be  a  mystical 
symbol.17  The  Royal  Diadem  of  its  offspring  was  said  to  appear  in 
menstruo  meretricis,  "in  the  menstrual  blood  of  a  whore,"  who  may 
have  been  the  Great  Whore,  an  ancient  epithet  of  the  Goddess.  Her 
menstrual  blood  curdled  in  her  womb  to  create  the  universe,  including 


its  metals,  minerals,  and  other  raw  materials  of  alchemy.  The  Rosar-  Alchemy 

ium  Phibsophorum  (Rosary  of  the  Philosophers)  said  the  soul  of  the 

world  is  made  of  male  and  female  "matters":  Anima  est  Sol  et  Luna.  ^^^^^^^^^— 

Similarly  a  human  soul  was  produced  by  male  and  female  parents. 

Sexual  mystics  held  a  theory  that  every  individual  person  or  thing  had 

but  half  a  soul,  which  must  find  its  other  half  in  the  opposite  sex.18 

At  times  the  alchemists  appeared  to  be  seeking  a  lost  deity,  like  the 
cabalists'  Shekina:  the  Mother  {mater)  sleeping  in  the  material  matter 
of  the  world,  having  been  separated  from  the  God  whose  other  half  she 
was.  Alchemists  usually  rejected  the  church's  teaching  that  matter 
was  "evil"  or  "fallen."  As  Gnostic  animists  they  thought  the  "savior" 
destined  to  emerge  from  the  alchemical  matrix  (mother-womb)  was 
both  an  anthropomorphic  Glorious  Child  or  Hlius  macrocosmi,  and  a 
"miraculous  stone"  or  Philosopher's  Stone,  possessing  corpus,  anima, 
spiritus,  the  "redeemer"  of  the  inanimate  universe.19  As  an  enlightened 
mystic  the  alchemist  hoped  to  attend  the  birth  of  this  strange  being, 
who  would  teach  him  to  transform  base  metals  into  gold,  as  eastern 
yogis  were  said  to  do  when  they  were  sufficiently  enlightened. 

One  reason  why  the  church  opposed  alchemy  and  identified  it 
with  black  magic  was  that  many  alchemical  texts  offered  greater 
revelations,  more  simply  achieved,  than  the  Bible  or  the  pulpit  could 
offer,  and  thus  took  on  the  character  of  a  rival.  For  example,  the 
Abtala  Jurain  (1732)  presented  the  whole  creation: 

Take  of  common  rainwater  a  good  quantity,  at  least  ten  quarts;  preserve  it 
well  sealed  in  glass  vessels  for  at  least  ten  days,  then  it  will  deposit 
matter  and  feces  on  the  bottom.  Pour  off  the  clear  liquid  and  place  it  in  a 
wooden  vessel  that  is  fashioned  round  like  a  ball;  cut  it  in  the  middle 
and  Hll  the  vessel  a  third  full,  and  set  it  in  the  sun  about  midday  in  a  secret 
or  secluded  spot. 

When  this  has  been  done,  take  a  drop  of  the  consecrated  red  wine 
and  let  it  fall  into  the  water,  and  you  will  instantly  perceive  a  fog  and  a 
thick  darkness  on  top  of  the  water,  such  as  also  was  at  the  first  creation. 
Then  put  in  two  drops,  and  you  will  see  the  light  coming  forth  from  the 
darkness;  whereupon  little  by  little  put  in  every  half  of  each  quarter  hour 
first  three,  then  four,  then  live,  then  six,  drops,  and  no  more,  and  you 
will  see  with  your  own  eyes  one  thing  after  another  appearing  by  and  by 
on  top  of  the  water,  how  God  created  all  things  in  six  days,  and  how  it 
all  came  to  pass,  and  such  secrets  as  are  not  to  be  spoken  aloud  and  I  also 
have  not  power  to  reveal.  Pall  on  your  knees  before  you  undertake  this 
operation.  Let  your  eyes  judge  of  it;  for  thus  was  the  world  created.  Let  all 
stand  as  it  is,  and  in  half  an  hour  after  it  began  it  will  disappear. 

By  this  you  will  see  clearly  the  secrets  of  God,  that  are  at  present 
hidden  from  you  as  from  a  child.  You  will  understand  what  Moses  has 
written  concerning  the  creation;  you  will  see  what  manner  of  body  Adam 
and  Eve  had  before  and  after  the  Fall,  what  the  serpent  was,  what  the 
tree,  and  what  manner  of  fruits  they  ate;  where  and  what  Paradise  is,  and 
in  what  bodies  the  righteous  shall  be  resurrected;  not  in  this  body  that 


Alcmene  we  have  received  from  Adam,  but  in  that  which  we  attain  through  the 

Allah  Holy  Ghost,  namely  in  such  body  as  our  Savior  brought  from 

^^_^^__^_^_  Heaven.20 

1.  Budge,  E.M.,  20.  2.  Ashe,  213.  3.  de  Camp,  S.S.S.,  143, 147. 

4.  Shumaker,  178, 183.  5.  Goldberg,  101.  6.  de  Givry,  361. 

7.  Neumann,  G.M.,  pi.  174.  8.  Campbell,  M.I.,  254.  9.  Shah,  194. 

10.Jung,M.H.S.,  186.  11.  Wilkins,44,  50,  56,  58.  12.  Silberer,  258. 

13.  Shah,  201-2.  14.  Castiglioni,  286.  15.  Campbell,  CM.,  268. 

16.  Campbell,  M.I.,  258.  17.  Campbell,  CM.,  273.  18.  Campbell,  CM.,  289, 295. 

19.  Campbell,  CM.,  271-72.  20.  Campbell,  CM.  268-69. 


"Power  of  the  Moon,"  virgin  mother  of  the  solar  Savior,  Heracles. 
She  was  the  Greek  form  of  the  Hebrew  almah,  "moon-woman,"  who 
mothered  sacred  kings  in  the  Jerusalem  cult,  and  whose  title  was 
bestowed  on  the  virgin  Mary.2  Parallels  between  earlier  myths  of 
Alcmene  and  later  myths  of  Mary  were  too  numerous  to  be  coinci- 
dental. Alcmene's  husband  refrained  from  sexual  relations  with  her  until 
her  god-begotten  child  was  born.  The  couple  went  on  a  journey  "so 
that  the  child  has  a  birth  place  which  is  pot  his  parents'  home."3 
Heracles  also  grew  up  to  die  a  sacrificial  death,  after  which  he  visited 
the  underworld  and  harrowed  it,  then  rose  to  heaven  to  be  assimilated  to 
his  divine  Father  and  to  marry  the  Goddess's  virgin  aspect  all  over 
again,  to  beget  himself  anew. 

1.  Knight,  S.L.,  98.  2.  Brasch,  25.  3.  H.  Smith,  183. 


She  Who  May  Not  Be  Named,  one  of  Demeter's  triad  of  Furies, 
who  supported  the  ancient  laws  of  the  Goddess  by  punishing 


Late  Islamic  masculinization  of  the  Arabian  Goddess,  Al-Lat  or  Al- 
Ilat — the  Allatu  of  the  Babylonians — formerly  worshipped  at  the  Kaaba 
in  Mecca.  It  has  been  shown  that  "the  Allah  of  Islam"  was  a  male 
transformation  of  "the  primitive  lunar  deity  of  Arabia."1  Her  ancient 
symbol  the  crescent  moon  still  appears  on  Islamic  flags,  even  though 
modern  Moslems  no  longer  admit  any  feminine  symbolism  whatever 
connected  with  the  wholly  patriarchal  Allah.  See  Arabia. 

l.Briffault3, 106. 


Alleluia  Alleluia 

Medieval  Christian  version  of  an  international  word  for  the  funeral  ^^ 

keening  that  announced  a  sacred  king's  passage  to  the  land  of  death,  in         mmmihhh^ 

ancient  religious  dramas.  It  was  called  the  "howl,"  or  ululation.  The 

Akkadian  god  Alalu  was  a  direct  anthropomorphization  of  the  liturgical 

cry.  It  was  houloi  in  Greek,  uluktus  in  Latin,  hulluloo  or  hulla-baloo 

in  Old  Irish.1  Herodotus  said  the  "howlings  in  the  temple"  were  derived 

from  the  cult  of  Athene  in  Libya,  where  "the  women  do  it  very 


Alleluia  was  used  as  a  battle  cry  in  the  Middle  Ages,  and  credited 
with  powerful  victory-magic.  The  legend  of  St.  Germain  describes  its 
use  in  a  battle  between  Saxons  and  Britons.  As  the  cry  of  the  god 
Pan  was  supposed  to  cause  "pan-ic"  in  his  enemies,  so  the  sound  of 
alleluia  was  thought  to  kill  the  enemy's  fighting  spirit.3 

l.Hazlitt,  341.  2.  Herodotus,  270.  3.  de  Voragine,  399. 

Alma  Mater 

"Soul-Mother,"  a  Roman  teaching  priestess,  especially  one  empow- 
ered to  give  instruction  in  the  sexual  Mysteries.  (See  Cowrie).  The 
name  was  based  on  Al-Mah,  a  Middle-Eastern  name  of  the  Moon- 
goddess,  also  a  title  of  her  temple  women,  almah — the  same  word  that 
described  the  virgin  Mary  in  the  Hebrew  versions  of  the  Gospels.1 
The  priestess  called  alma  materbore  a  relationship  to  the  male  initiate 
similar  to  that  of  the  Tantric  Shakti. 

l.Brasch,  25. 


See  Motherhood. 


The  custom  of  burying  relics  of  saints  under  an  altar  began  with  a 
misunderstanding  of  the  scripture,  "I  saw  under  the  altar  the  souls  of 
them  that  were  slain  for  the  word  of  God"  (Revelation  6:9).  This  was 
based  on  a  pagan  teaching,  that  the  souls  of  the  enlightened  became 
stars  in  heaven.  Those  recently  deceased  stood  on  the  border  of  the 
sky,  under  the  constellation  of  the  Altar,  which  lies  close  to  the  horizon 
as  seen  from  Mediterranean  latitudes.1 

The  Altar  was  a  feminine  constellation  because  the  earliest  altars 
were  modeled  on  the  maternal  hearth,  and  altars  symbolized  the 
Mother.  The  Earth's  regenerative  womb  was  often  represented  as  an 



altar,  which  explains  why  "witch  cults"  were  said  to  make  an  altar  of 
the  belly  of  a  living  woman.  The  Heavenly  Virgin  was  also  an  altar,  Ara 
Coeli,  "Altar  of  Heaven,"  she  who  received  the  souls  of  the  dead. 
Christians  adopted  this  symbolism  from  the  virgin  Mary.  One  of  the 
Nativity  legends  claimed  the  Cumaean  Sybil  showed  Augustus  a 
vision  of  Mary,  saying,  "This  woman  is  the  Altar  of  Heaven."  A  church 
was  built  on  the  spot,  and  named  Santa  Maria  in  Ara  Coeli.2 

1 .  Rose,  289.  2.  de  Voragine,  49. 


"Powerful  One,"  title  of  the  Arabic  Goddess  as  founding  mother  of 
Mohammed's  tribe,  the  Koreshites,  hereditary  tenders  of  her  sacred 
stone  in  Mecca.1  See  Arabia. 



"Beloved,"  the  title  of  a  Vestal  Virgin  as  a  Bride  of  God — that  is, 
bride  of  the  spirit  of  Rome  manifested  in  the  phallic  Palladium.1  The 
title  was  copied  by  Christian  nuns  who  called  themselves  Brides  of 

1.  Graves,  W.G.,  395. 

Gaius  Tranquillus 
Suetonius  Roman 
biographer  and 
historian,  ca.  70- 


Herodotus  Greek 
historian  of  the  5th 
century  B.C. 


Greek  name  for  Goddess-worshipping  tribes  in  north  Africa,  Anato- 
lia, and  the  Black  Sea  area.1  Due  to  an  erroneous  belief  that  Amazon 
warriors  destroyed  the  right  breast  to  be  unhindered  in  drawing  the 
bow,  some  derived  the  name  from  a-mazos,  "breastless."  But  Greek  rep- 
resentations of  Amazons  showed  no  such  mutilation.  The  idea  may 
have  arisen  from  Asiatic  icons  of  the  Primal  Androgyne  with  a 
male  right  half  and  female  left  half,  echoed  by  a  coalescence  of  the 
Amazon  Goddess  Artemis  with  her  brother-consort  Apollo.  Scholars 
now  say  the  word  Amazon  meant  "moon-woman."2 

Suetonius  said,  "Amazons  once  ruled  over  a  large  part  of  Asia."  As 
late  as  the  5th  century  a.d.,  the  Black  Sea  was  still  known  as  the 
Amazon  Sea.*  Libya — which  used  to  mean  all  of  North  Africa  except 
Egypt — was  also  Amazonian.  Herodotus  spoke  of  Libyan  Amazons. 
Diodorus,  first  century  Greek  historian,  called  them  "the  warlike 
women  of  Libya."  To  this  day,  north  African  Berbers  call  themselves 
Amazigh,  though  their  common  name  came  from  Latin  barbari, 

The  ancients  said  Amazons  were  the  first  to  tame  horses,  which 


may  well  account  for  their  armies'  legendary  invincibility.5  In  open 
country,  mounted  troops  whether  male  or  female  would  have  a  decided 
advantage  over  foot  soldiers. 

In  Amazonian  myths,  the  Goddess  was  often  worshipped  as  a 
mare:  India's  mare-mother  Saranyu,  mare-headed  Demeter,  or 
Cretan  Leukippe  the  "White  Mare,"  whose  priests  were  castrated  and 
wore  female  dress.6  Among  Scythians  also,  men  entered  the  service 
of  the  Goddess  by  castrating  themselves  and  adopting  women's  cloth- 
ing. The  only  deity  shown  in  Scythian  art  was  the  Great  Goddess, 
whom  the  Greeks  called  Artemis,  or  Hestia,  or  Gaea  (the  Earth).7 
Some  of  the  Scythians  settled  in  Parthia,  "Virginland,"  named  after 
their  Goddess.  They  came  to  be  known  as  Sacae,  and  their  chief  city 
was  Sacastene,  now  Seistan.8 

Scythians  were  governed  by  priestess-queens,  usually  buried  alone 
in  richly  furnished  kurgans  (queen-graves).  Five  kurganswere  discov- 
ered together  at  Pasyryk  in  southern  Russia  in  1954.  Scythian 
priestesses  were  elder  women,  old  enough  to  have  gray  hair.  They 
performed  traditional  sacrifices,  catching  the  blood  in  sacred  cauldrons 
and  taking  omens  from  the  entrails.  They  also  accompanied  their 
armies  into  battle,  to  cast  spells  for  victory.9 

The  moon-sickle  used  in  mythical  castrations  of  gods  was  a 
Scythian  weapon.  A  long-handled  form  therefore  came  to  be  called  a 
scythe,  and  was  assigned  to  the  Grim  Reaper,  who  was  originally  Rhea 
Kronia  in  the  guise  of  Mother  Time,  or  Mother  Death — the  Earth 
who  devoured  her  own  children.  Scythian  women  apparently  used  such 
weapons  in  battle  as  well  as  in  religious  ceremonies  and  agriculture. 
Diodorus  said  Scythian  women  "fight  like  the  men  and  are  nowise 
inferior  to  them  in  bravery." 10  A  Scythian  girl  was  allowed  to  marry 
only  after  she  had  killed  three  enemies  in  battle.11 

It  wasn't  unusual  for  barbarian  armies  to  include  women.  Femi- 
nine magic  power  was  often  considered  necessary  for  victory.  The 
Bible  says  Barak  commanded  an  army  of  10,000  men,  but  refused  to  go 
into  battle  unless  the  priestess-queen  Deborah  went  along,  to  cast 
victory  spells  for  him  (Judges  4:8).  Tacitus  told  of  druidic  forces 
repelling  Roman  invaders  on  the  island  of  Mona  (Moon)  in  61  a.d.: 
among  the  soldiers,  black-clad  women  waved  swords  and  cursed  the 
enemy  "like  the  Furies."12 

Greek  myth  says  Amazon  tribes  occupied  Cappadocia,  Samo- 
thrace,  and  Lesbos,  and  founded  the  cities  of  Smyrna,  Ephesus, 
Cymes,  Myrine,  and  Paphos — all  leading  centers  of  Goddess-worship. 
Amazons  came  to  the  aid  of  matriarchal  Troy  in  the  Trojan  War. 
The  Amazon  queen  Penthesileia  fell  beneath  the  sword  of  Achilles, 
who  immediately  violated  her  dead  body.  Homer  attributed  this 
necrophilic  act  to  Achilles's  love  of  her  beautiful  corpse.  More  likely,  it 
was  a  magic  charm  to  immobilize  her  vengeful  spirit.  Greeks  feared 
the  ghosts  of  slain  Amazons.  They  called  them  Beautiful  Ones,  built 


Cornelius  Tacitus 

Roman  historian 
and  rhetorician,  ca. 
56-120  a.d. 



Lebor  Gabala 
Erenn,  also  called  the 
Book  of  Conquests: 
early-medieval  Irish 
history,  purporting  to 
trace  the  origins  of 
the  Irish  tribes  back  to 
the  time  of  Adam. 

shrines  to  them,  and  offered  them  propitiatory  sacrifices  for  centuries 
after  the  war.13 

Theseus,  king  of  Attica,  violated  the  Amazons'  law  of  matrilocal 
marriage  by  kidnapping  their  queen,  variously  named  Hippolyta, 
Antiope,  or  Melanippe  (Black  Mare).  Some  said  Antiope  was  the  sister 
of  Hippolyta.  The  former  was  slain  by  Theseus,  the  latter  by 
Heracles,  who  wished  to  steal  her  magic  girdle.  Enraged,  the  Amazons 
invaded  Greece,  ravaged  coastal  towns,  and  besieged  Athens.14 
Amazons  and  Greeks  became  hereditary  enemies.  A  later  Amazon 
queen  named  Artemisia  (Spirit  of  Artemis)  joined  Xerxes  to  fight  the 
Greeks  at  the  battle  of  Salamis  in  480  b.c. — not  because  she  loved 
Persians,  but  because  she  hated  Greeks.15 

Greek  myths  mention  several  Islands  of  Women,  where  Amazons 
lived  without  men,  only  consorting  with  neighboring  colonies  of 
males  at  certain  seasons  when  they  wanted  to  conceive  their  children. 
Taurus,  Lemnos,  and  Lesbos  were  said  to  be  such  all-female  societ- 
ies. The  Greeks  apparently  feared  them.  They  said  the  women  of 
Taurus  sacrificed  to  their  Goddess  all  men  who  landed  on  their 
shores;  and  the  women  of  Lemnos  had  risen  up  against  their  husbands 
and  murdered  all  of  them  at  once.16  The  Greek  writers  seemed  to 
have  no  doubt  that  women  could  destroy  whole  populations  of  adult 
males,  and  there  was  no  effective  defense  against  them. 

Northern  Europe  had  mythical  Amazons:  the  Valkyries,  warrior- 
maidens  of  Valhalla.  There  were  also  real  Amazons  among  the 
Vikings:  female  captains  and  war-chieftainesses.17  In  the  10th  century 
a.d.  a  Norwegian  fleet  invaded  Ireland  and  devastated  Ulster  and  the 
northeast,  under  the  command  of  a  warrior  queen  called  the  Red 
Maiden.18  Another  warrior  queen,  Olga,  was  one  of  the  first  rulers  of 
Kiev.19  Medieval  historians  said  Amazons  ruled  the  city  of  Ulm  from 
before  the  time  of  Abraham  to  the  time  of  Alexander  the  Great.  The 
city  was  named  for  the  sacred  elms  (ulmae)  of  the  grove  where  they 
worshipped  Diana-Artemis.20 

Again  and  again,  legends  mention  the  women's  magic  battle-cries, 
which  made  their  enemies  helpless.  The  Valkyrie  Kara  deprived  her 
enemies  of  power  to  wield  their  weapons  by  the  sound  of  her  voice.21  A 
Celtic  Valkyrie,  Nemhain,  cursed  Cu  Chulainn's  warriors  and  made 
a  hundred  of  them  drop  dead  on  the  spot.22 

The  Lebor  Gabala  Erenn — Book  of  the  Taking  of  Ireland — said 
the  very  first  expedition  of  colonists  to  Ireland  was  led  by  a  woman.23 
Ireland  had  female  soldiers  up  to  the  7th  century  a.d.,  when  Christian 
legal  reforms  forbade  women  to  bear  arms.24  The  tradition  persisted 
in  connection  with  weddings.  A  bride's  costume  up  to  the  17th  century 
included  a  knife  at  the  belt.25  But  after  the  9th  century,  female 
warriors  in  Celtic  lands  were  labeled  "witches."26  In  the  Amazons' 
territory  around  the  Black  Sea,  women  retained  certain  Amazon 


customs  up  to  the  18th  century:  dressing  in  men's  clothes,  riding  Ambrosia 

horseback  astride,  and  fighting  beside  the  men  in  war.27  Amphitrite 

1.  Lederer,  103.  2.  Graves,  G.M.  2,  379.  3.  Sobol,  153, 155.  4.  Wendt,  52, 66.  ^^^^^^^^^^ 

5.  Lederer,  103.  6.  Gaster,  316.  7.  Encyc.  Brit,  "Amazons."  8.  Thomson  174  ^^^^^m^^^^^m 

9.  Wendt,  116, 137.  10.  Briffault  1,456.  11.  Knight,  S.L.,  33 

12.  Pepper  &  Wilcock,  216.  13.  Graves,  G.M.  2,  313;  Larousse,  122. 

14.  Graves,  G.M.  2,  126.  15.  Encyc.  Brit,  "Artemisia."  16.  Graves,  G.M.  2  224 

17.  Oxenstiema,  208.  18.  Briffault  1, 457.  19.  Larousse,  294. 

20.  Borchardt,  104.  21.  Larousse,  279.  22.  MacCana,  90.  23.  Rees,  28. 

24.dePaor,  1 09;  Joyce,  84.  25.  Hazlitt,  75.  26.  Boulding,  319.  27.Spretnak,  106. 


"Supernatural  red  wine"  of  Mother  Hera,  which  gave  the  Greek 
gods  immortality.1  In  the  Vedas  it  was  soma,  in  Persia  haoma,  in  Egypt 
sa:  always  associated  with  the  moon  and  the  maternal  "blood  of  life," 
i.e.,  menstrual  blood.2  Merlin's  older  name  of  Ambrosius  suggests  a 
link  with  such  pagan  symbols  of  immortality  achieved  through 
association  with  life-giving  feminine  blood.  See  Merlin;  Thomas 

1.  Graves,  G.M.  1, 1 18.  2.  Budge,  G.E.  2, 298;  Hartley,  231. 


Magic  word  interpreted  as  "let  it  be"  in  Hebrew,  used  to  evoke  divine 
response  to  a  prayer.  Such  words  often  began  as  deities'  names.  This 
may  have  originally  invoked  the  Egyptian  god  Amen,  "the  Hidden 
One" — the  sun  in  the  belly  of  his  Mother  before  his  rebirth  at  sunrise. 
Its  hieroglyphic  symbol  meant  a  pregnant  belly.1 

1.  Book  of  the  Dead,  194. 


Norse  Grandmother-Goddess  who  gave  birth  to  the  race  of  karls 
(freemen);  perhaps  derived  from  Ama,  a  basic  name  of  the  Great 
Goddess  in  Mesopotamia  and  the  east.1  See  Caste. 

l.Turville-Petre,  147. 


"All-encircling  Triad,"  the  pre-Hellenic  Triple  Goddess,  trans- 
formed into  a  mere  sea  nymph  by  Hellenic  writers.  She  was  forced  to 
marry  Poseidon  because  this  god  was  "greedy  of  earthly  kingdoms," 
which  implied  that  the  earthly  kingdoms  used  to  be  owned  by  the 



nymph  herself.  Graves  says  the  myth  represented  encroachment  of 
male  priesthoods  on  former  feminine  control  of  the  fishing  industry.1 
1.  Graves,  G.M.  1,59, 61;  2,  379. 


This  and  its  variations  Anahita  and  Anaitis  were  the  Persian  and 
Armenian  names  for  Venus,  the  star  of  Ishtar  and  Astarte,  Mother 
Goddess  of  the  Zend-Avesta;  ruler  of  waters,  stars,  and  Fate.  The 
Mithraic  Mysteries,  though  strongly  male-oriented,  retained  Anahita  as 
the  necessary  female  principle  of  creation.1 
l.Cumont.M.M.,  180. 


A  rabbi  who  opposed  St.  Paul.  In  the  Acts  of  the  Apostles,  Ananias 
was  (1)  a  holy  man,  Paul's  instructor,  who  accepted  Paul's  faith;  (2)  an 
enemy,  who  struck  Paul  and  publicly  shamed  him;  and  finally  (3)  "a 
liar  unto  God,"  who  held  back  some  of  his  money  from  the  apostles, 
though  they  seemed  to  think  he  must  surrender  all  of  it.  For  this 
offense,  St.  Peter  made  Ananias  "fall  down  dead"  along  with  his  wife 
Sapphira,  and  young  men  of  the  apostles'  sect  buried  them.  The 
apostles  were  imprisoned  for  murder,  but  "an  angel"  came  secretly  at 
night  and  let  them  out  of  jail  (Acts  5:1-19). 

This  curious  story  was  much  repeated  in  connection  with  collec- 
tion of  church  taxes.  Withholders  of  tithes  were  called  "liars"  like 
the  sinful  Ananias. 


Milesian  philosopher, 
astronomer,  and 
geographer,  6th 
century  B.C. 


"Necessity,"  a  Neoplatonic-Pythagorean  title  of  the  Goddess  who 
governed  the  world  according  to  karmic  law;  another  name  for  Fortuna, 
or  Fate.  "What  we  call  causality  in  the  West  has  its  roots  in  the 
Greek  images  of  Ananke  (Necessity),  Dike  (Justice),  Heimarmene 
(Allotted  Fate),  and  Nemesis  (Retribution) — all  goddesses  which 
were  feared  and  respected."  Anaximander  said  it  was  according  to 
Ananke  that  the  "source  of  generation  for  all  things  is  that  into  which 
their  destruction  also  leads."  Stoic  philosophers  made  Ananke  or  Hei- 
marmene the  supreme  all-ruling  world  principle,  with  absolute 
authority  over  even  the  gods.  The  Orphics  said  Ananke  was  mated  to 
Chronos  (Time),  which  gave  rise  to  the  concept  of  supernatural 
duality  known  as  Time-and-Fate.1  It  might  be  said  there  was  no  Greek 


idea  of  "God"  that  could  transcend  or  overrule  the  feminine  image  of 
Ananke  as  the  inescapable  What-Must-Be. 

1.  von  Franz,  23. 



"The  Infinite,"  a  great  serpent  in  whose  coils  Hindu  gods  spent  their 
periods  of  sleep  or  death  between  periods  of  activity.1  The  serpent 
might  be  compared  to  the  ancient  Egyptian  goddess  Mehen  the 
Enveloper,  a  serpent  who  enfolded  Ra  every  night  when  he  was  "dead" 
in  the  underworld.  The  sex  of  the  eternal  serpent  was  indeterminate. 
Earlier  myths  tended  to  see  it  as  female,  a  cosmic  Kundalini.  Later 
Vedic  traditions  tended  to  view  Ananta  as  male. 


Anastasia,  Saint 

"She  Who  Stands  in  Heaven,"  title  of  Rome's  Great  Goddess, 
personified  as  a  pseudo-saint.  Her  three  "serving-maids"  Agapeta, 
Theonia,  and  Irene  were  originally  the  three  Horae  or  Graces  who 
attended  the  Goddess. 

Her  Christianized  legend  associated  Agapeta,  Theonia,  and  Irene 
with  a  man  who  suffered  a  ceremonial  death  in  the  same  way  as 
ancient  victims  of  the  pagan  Mamuralia  or  scapegoat-sacrifice.  He  was 
beaten  with  rods,  reviled  and  spat  upon,  then  shown  a  vision  of  the 
Triple  Goddess  in  his  moment  of  death,  whereupon  he  "fell  into  a  sleep 
so  deep"  that  no  further  blows  could  waken  him.1 

Hagiographers  claimed  Anastasia  was  another  one  of  the  "virgin 
martyrs"  slain  by  Diocletian's  persecution.  However,  modern  schol- 
ars admit  that  she  never  existed  except  as  a  label  on  statues  of  the 
Goddess,  which  were  re-interpreted  as  images  of  a  saint.2  Her  holy 
day  was  the  same  as  that  of  the  sun's  birth  from  the  Great  Mother  at  the 
winter  solstice:  December  25.  By  the  old  lunar  calendar,  this  festival 
began  with  its  Eve,  December  24,  called  Matrum  Noctem,  "Night  of 
the  Mother."3 

l.deVoragine(52.  2.  Attwater,  44.  3.  Turville-Petre,  227. 


Twin  of  the  Goddess  Mari  as  Lady  of  Birth  and  Death,  worshipped 
by  Canaanites,  Amorites,  Syrians,  Egyptians,  and  Hebrews.  Greek- 
speaking  Phoenicians  in  Cyprus  called  her  "Anat,  Strength  of  Life." 
An  Egyptian  stele  of  the  time  of  Rameses  II  addressed  her  as  Queen  of 

var.  Anatha,  Anat, 
Neit,  or  Ath-enna; 
Egyptian:  Aynat 



Ras  Shamra  texts 

Cuneiform  tablets 
discovered  in  1929  in 
the  Ras  Shamra 
mound,  northern  Syria, 
site  of  the  ancient 
Canaanite  capital  city  of 
Ugarit.  The  texts 
reveal  Canaanite 
foundations  of  biblical 

Heaven  and  Mistress  of  All  the  Gods.  Under  the  Greek  Ptolemaic 
dynasty  she  ruled  both  Egypt  and  Palestine.  Semitic  texts  named  her 
Virgin  Daughter  of  Palestine,  or  Virgin  Wisdom  Dwelling  in  Zion.1 

The  Jerusalem  temple  was  occupied  for  centuries  by  both  God 
(El)  and  this  Goddess,  variously  known  as  Queen  of  Heaven,  Anat, 
Asherah,  Mari,  or  Miriam.2  Her  sanctuary  Beth-Anath  (House  of 
Anath)  is  mentioned  in  the  19th  chapter  of  Joshua.  Some  early 
Israelite  chieftains  called  themselves  her  sons,  like  Shamgar  ben  Anath, 
who  "slew  of  the  Philistines  six  hundred  men  with  an  ox  goad" 
(Judges  3:3 1).  The  ox  goad  was  a  magic  spell,  represented  by  the  letter 
lamedh,  which  means  "ox  goad."  In  Sicily,  a  Phoenician  settlement 
was  named  after  this  Goddess,  Mach-Anath.  Greeks  called  it  Panorma, 
meaning  Universal  Mountain  Mother.3 

Primitive  sacrificial  rites  of  Anath  or  Anat  were  described  in  the 
Ras  Shamra  texts.  She  was  fertilized  by  the  blood  of  men,  not  by  their 
semen,  because  her  worship  dated  all  the  way  back  to  the  Neolithic 
when  fatherhood  was  unknown  and  blood  was  considered  the  only 
substance  that  could  transmit  life.  Hecatombs  of  men  seem  to  have 
been  sacrificed  to  Anath  when  her  image  was  reddened  with  "rouge 
and  henna"  for  the  occasion.4  "Violently  she  smites  and  gloats,  Anat 
cuts  them  down  arid  gazes;  her  liver  exults  in  mirth  ...  for  she 
plunges  her  knees  in  the  blood  of  the  soldiers,  her  loins  in  the  gore  of 
the  warriors,  till  she  has  had  her  fill  of  slaughtering  in  the  house,  of 
cleaving  among  the  tables." 5  In  similar  rites  in  Egypt,  priestesses  hoisted 
up  their  skirts  while  dismembering  the  bull  god  Apis  so  his  spurting 
blood  would  bathe  their  loins  and  fertilize  them.6 

Like  the  Mexican  "Lady  of  the  Serpent  Skirt,"  who  made  new  life 
from  Quetzalcoatl's  genital  blood,  Anath  hung  the  shorn  penises  of 
her  victims  on  her  goatskin  apron,  or  aegis.7  When  the  Goddess  was 
transplanted  to  Greece  and  permanently  virginized  as  Athene,  her 
aegis  was  transformed  from  the  ceremonial  apron  of  Libyan  priestesses 
into  a  breastplate.8  Athene  still  wore  "serpents"  (phalli)  on  her  aegis, 
along  with  the  Gorgon  head  of  her  Destroyer  aspect.  Gorgon,  "Grim 
One,"  was  Athene's  title  as  a  Death-goddess.9  See  Medusa;  Metis; 

Anath  annually  cast  her  death-curse,  anathema,  on  the  Canaanite 
god  who  became  Lord  of  Death:  Mot,  the  castrated  "Sterility"  aspect 
of  the  fertile  Baal.  Like  Set  in  Egypt,  Mot  stood  for  the  barren  season 
that  slew  its  own  fertile  twin,  the  god  Aleyin.  In  typical  sacred-king 
style,  Mot- Aleyin  was  the  son  of  the  Virgin  Anath  and  also  the 
bridegroom  of  his  own  mother.  Like  Jesus  too,  he  was  the  Lamb  of 
God.  He  said,  "I  am  Aleyin,  son  of  Baal  (the  Lord).  Make  ready,  then, 
the  sacrifice.  I  am  the  lamb  which  is  made  ready  with  pure  wheat  to 
be  sacrificed  in  expiation."10 

After  Aleyin's  death,  Anath  resurrected  him  and  sacrificed  Mot  in 
turn.  She  told  Mot  that  he  was  forsaken  by  his  heavenly  father  El,  the 
same  god  who  "forsook"  Jesus  on  the  cross.  The  words  attributed  to 


Jesus,  "My  El,  my  El,  why  hast  thou  forsaken  me?  "  (Mark  1 5:34),  Anath 

apparently  were  copied  from  the  ancient  liturgical  formula,  which 

became  part  of  the  Passover  ritual  at  Jerusalem.  

The  sacred  drama  included  a  moment  when  Anath  broke  Mot's 
reed  scepter,  to  signify  his  castration— again  foreshadowing  a  detail  of 
the  Christian  Gospels.  The  breaking  of  the  scepter  meant  severing  the 
connection  of  the  old,  played-out  king  with  the  Earth-goddess  after 
the  harvest  of  his  reign.  Anath  therefore  slew  him  and  used  his  body  and 
blood  to  refresh  the  soil  for  the  next  year's  crop.  "She  seizes  Mot,  the 
son  divine.  With  her  sickle  she  cleaves  him.  With  her  flail  she  beats 
him."  His  pieces  were  scattered  on  the  fields,  like  pieces  of  the  Savior 
Osiris  in  Egypt.11 

Naturally,  the  god-killing  Anath  was  much  diabolized  in  later 
patriarchal  legends.  Abyssinian  Christians  called  her  Aynat,  "the  evil 
eye  of  the  earth."  They  said  she  was  an  old  witch  destroyed  by  Jesus, 
who  commanded  that  she  must  be  burned  and  her  ashes  scattered  on 
the  wind.12  The  hostility  of  Jesus  probably  stemmed  from  the  missionar- 
ies' deliberate  reversal  of  his  former  identification  with  the  destroyed 

In  the  Christian  Gospels,  Anath 's  death  curse  Anathema  Mara- 
natha  (1  Corinthians  16:22)  has  been  very  loosely  translated  "the 
Bridegroom  cometh."  It  really  meant  the  Bridegroom's  imminent 
death;  it  was  the  solemn  curse  pronounced  over  any  sacrificial 
victim.13  It  carried  the  same  double  meaning  as  Latin  sacer,  meaning 
both  "holy"  and  "accursed" — like  all  dying  gods,  who  were  formerly 
anathemata,  "offerings."  H  Every  nation  has  examples  of  gods  chosen 
for  the  sacred  marriage,  then  accursed  and  killed.  The  Celtic  God- 
dess's fatal  words  marked  for  death  such  heroes  as  Cu  Chulainn  and 
Diarmuid.  The  god  called  Lord  of  the  Hunt  became  le  Chasseur 
Maudit,  "the  Accursed  Huntsman." 

The  origin  of  accursed  heroes  in  general  might  be  found  in 
ancient  India,  where  Shiva  the  Condemned  One  was  chosen  by  Sati- 
Kali  for  the  sacred  marriage  with  her  virgin  incarnation,  followed  by  his 
death  and  journey  to  the  underworld.15  As  a  personification  of  the 
Primordial  Abyss,  the  Goddess  was  sometimes  called  Kala-Nath,  which 
might  have  been  related  to  the  name  of  Anath.16 

Anath's  capacity  to  curse  and  kill  made  even  the  Heavenly  Father 
afraid  of  her.  When  El  seemed  reluctant  to  do  her  bidding,  she 
threatened  to  smash  his  head  and  cover  his  gray  hair  and  beard  with 
gore.  He  hastily  gave  her  everything  she  asked,  saying,  "Whoever 
hinders  thee  will  be  crushed." 17  It  was  a  long  step  from  this  Middle- 
Eastern  tale  to  the  Greek  concept  of  the  dread  Goddess  as  the 
Heavenly  Father's  ever-dutiful  daughter.  See  Anne,  Saint. 

1.  Ashe,  30-31,  59.  2.  Briffault  3, 1 10.  3.  Massa,  48.  4.  Hooke,  M.E.M.,  83. 

5.  Gray,  80.  6.  Graves,  G.M.  1,255.  7.  Gaster,416.  8.  Graves,  W.G,  410. 

9.  Knight, S.L.,  130.  10.  Larousse,  77.  1 1 .  Larousse,  78.  12.Gifford,63. 

13.  Budge, GE.  2,  253.  14.  Hyde,  111.  15.  Larousse,  335.  16.  Bardo  Thodol,  147. 

17.  Pritchard,  A.N.E.  1,124. 




Christian  term  for  a  person  or  thing  officially  cursed  and  excommuni- 
cated; from  the  biblical  passage  "If  any  man  love  not  the  Lord  Jesus 
Christ,  let  him  be  Anathema  Maranatha"  (1  Corinthians  16:22). 
Originally  it  was  the  curse  pronounced  by  the  Goddess,  Marah  or  Mari- 
Anath,  on  her  dying  god;  see  Anath.  In  medieval  Christian  usage,  to 
be  pronounced  Anathema  was  to  be  cast  out  of  the  congregation  with 
bell,  book,  and  candle,  and  irrevocably  consigned  to  hell:  a  curious 
reminiscence  of  the  accursed  god's  temporary  descent  into  the  under- 
world, in  the  ancient  religion. 


St.  Andrew's  Cross 

Andrew,  Saint 

From  Greek  andros,  "man"  or  "virility,"  a  title  of  the  solar  god  of 
Patras,  in  Achaea,  where  the  apostle  Andrew  was  supposed  to  have 
been  crucified  after  founding  the  Byzantine  papacy. '  St.  Andrew's 
legend  was  invented  by  Byzantine  bishops  to  counter  Rome's  claim  to 
primacy  through  its  own  legend  of  St.  Peter.  Eastern  patriarchs 
upheld  their  magisterium  by  calling  Andrew  the  elder  brother  of  Peter, 
to  enhance  his  authority,  and  declaring  him  the  first  apostle  to 
discover  the  Messiah.2 

The  story  that  Andrew  was  crucified  on  an  X-shaped  cross,  the 
so-called  St.  Andrew's  Cross,  was  unknown  until  the  Middle  Ages. 
Apparently  it  evolved  from  a  popular  symbol  of  the  eastern  patri- 
archs, a  solar  cross  in  an  orb.3  It  was  also  the  Cross  of  Wotan  carried  by 
Norse  invaders  into  Scotland,  where  it  became  the  present  Scottish 
national  symbol. 

Patras,  the  site  of  Andrew's  alleged  martyrdom,  was  an  old  shrine 
of  the  phallic-solar  father-god  variously  called  Pater,  Petra,  or  Peter, 
whose  name  had  the  same  basic  meaning  as  Andrew.  Political  battles 
between  the  factions  of  Andrew  and  Peter  in  the  4th  century  a.d. 
stimulated  canonical  disguises  for  local  genii  loci  in  both  Byzantium  and 
Rome,  and  these  are  still  preserved  in  the  calendar  of  saints.4 

l.Attwater,45.  2.  Brewster,  5.  3.  B.  Butler,  241.  4.  H.  Smith,  252. 


Many  Indo-European  religions  tried  to  combine  male  and  female  in  the 
Primal  Androgyne,  both  sexes  in  one  body,  often  with  two  heads 
and  four  arms.  The  Brhadaranyaka  Upanishad  said  the  Primal  Andro- 
gyne was  "of  the  same  size  and  kind  as  man  and  woman  closely 
embracing."1  Some  said  the  male  and  female  elements  lived  together  in 
one  skin,  experiencing  constant  sexual  bliss  and  spiritual 


Shiva  and  Shakti-Kali  appeared  as  the  androgyne  Ardhanaris-  Androgyne 

vara,  the  right  side  male,  the  left  side  female.2  Rudra,  the  older  form  of 

Shiva,  was  known  as  "the  Lord  Who  is  Half  Woman." 3  Brahma  ^_^__^^__ 

and  Vishnu  also  appeared  as  bisexual  beings  united  with  their  Shaktis. 
Chinese  Taoists  held  the  mandala  of  Yang  and  Yin  to  represent  the 

Western  myths  also  assigned  androgyny  to  the  elder  gods  or  the 
first  human  beings.  The  Orphic  creation  myth  said  the  firstborn  deity 
was  a  double-sexed  Phanes  or  Eros,  "Carnal  Love,"  whose  female  half 
was  Psyche,  the  soul,  Greek  equivalent  of  Shakti.4  Hermes  owed  his 
phenomenal  wisdom  to  his  former  androgynous  existence  with  Mother 
Aphrodite,  as  double-sexed  Hermaphroditus.5 

Often,  the  androgyne  appeared  in  myth  as  male-female  twins  born 
simultaneously,  e.g.  Isis-Osiris,  Jana-Janus,  Diana-Dianus,  Fauna- 
Faunus,  Helen-Helenus,  or  Artemis-Apollo,  the  "moon  and  sun" 
united  in  their  Mother's  womb.  Probably  an  androgynous  image  on 
Apollo's  altar  at  Delos  gave  rise  to  the  story  that  he  copulated  with  his 
sister  Artemis  on  that  altar.  Several  forms  of  the  sun  god  were 
represented  as  requiring  close  physical  union  with  the  moon  goddess,  as 
even  Brahma  was  useless  without  his  female  counterpart  Bhavani, 
"Being."6  Egypt's  "supreme"  sun  god  was  often  an  androgyne;  the  sun 
was  his  right  eye,  the  moon  his  left.7  The  same  androgynous  being  is 
still  worshipped  in  Dahomey  as  Nana-Buluku,  Moon-Sun,  who  created 
the  world  and  gave  birth  to  the  first  pair  of  human  beings.8 

Many  myths  model  the  first  human  beings  on  the  androgyne. 
Persians  said  the  first  pair  in  the  garden  of  Heden  (Eden)  lived 
together  in  one  body,  until  Ahura  Mazda  separated  them.  Jewish 
imitators  of  the  Persians  also  said  Adam  and  Eve  were  united  in  a 
bisexual  body.  Some  rabbinical  sources  said  Eve  was  not  "taken  out 
of"  Adam;  they  were  parted  from  one  another  by  a  jealous  God  who 
resented  their  sexual  bliss,  which  was  too  Godlike  for  human  beings, 
and  should  be  reserved  for  deities.  Casting  man  out  of  the  "garden" 
meant  detaching  him  from  the  female  body,  often  symbolized  by  the 
Hebrew  pardes,  "garden."9  This  was  another  way  of  saying  the 
original  sin  that  angered  God  was  not  disobedience  but  sex.10 

Greek  myths  of  the  Golden  Age  told  the  same  tale  of  a  jealous 
God:  Zeus,  who  punished  humanity's  friend  Prometheus  with 
eternal  torture  because  he  tricked  the  Heavenly  Father  for  human- 
ity's advantage  (see  Sacrifice).  The  people  of  the  Golden  Age  had  been 
created  androgynous  by  Prometheus,  who  made  their  bodies  of  clay, 
and  Athene,  who  gave  them  life.  Father  Zeus  took  out  his  anger  on 
them  by  tearing  them  apart.  A  piece  of  clay  was  torn  out  of  the 
female  part  and  stuck  to  the  male  part.  That  is  why  women  have  an 
orifice  that  bleeds,  and  men  have  a  loose  dangling  appendage  that 
seems  not  to  belong  to  them  but  always  craves  to  return  to  the  female 
body  it  came  from. 



Naassenes,  or 

Naassians;  from 
Hebrew  nahash,  "ser- 
pent." Jewish  or 
Christian  Gnostic  sects 
of  the  early  Christian 
era,  who  worshipped 
the  serpent  god 
Ophis  (Hermes)  as  a 
form  of  the  Savior. 

Mysteries  General 
term  for  religious  rites 
of  the  "secret 
initiation"  type,  which 
included  early 

Cruel  Zeus  permitted  human  beings  to  return  the  male  appendage 
to  its  female  home  sometimes,  to  sense  for  a  brief  moment  the  bliss  of 
their  former  bisexual  existence.  Some  Gnostic  mystery  cults  of  the  first 
centuries  a.d.  taught  Tantric  techniques  to  prolong  the  moment  of 
bliss,  which  angered  most  forms  of  the  Heavenly  Father  including  the 
Christian  one,  whose  bishops  denounced  this  training  as  schooling 
in  wickedness.11  Church  fathers  especially  deplored  making — or  re- 
making— the  Beast  with  Two  Backs,  another  term  for  the  Primal 

Though  orthodox  Christianity  renounced  both  sexuality  and  an- 
drogyny in  religious  images,  Gnostic  Christians  used  them.  As  Kali 
was  the  female  half  of  Shiva,  so  the  Gnostic  Great  Mother  Sophia  was 
the  female  half  of  Christ.  This  was  revealed  "in  a  great  light":  the 
Savior  was  shown  as  an  androgyne  coupled  with  "Sophia,  Mother  of 

Gnostic  Christians  said  those  who  received  the  true  revelation  of 
the  Father-Mother  spirit  were  the  only  ones  prepared  for  the  secret 
sacrament  called  apolytrosis,  "release,"  a  concept  identical  with  Tantric 
moksha  or  "liberation."  n  Obviously  influenced  by  Tantrism  or  its 
prototype,  western  Gnostics  had  made  a  direct  translation  of  the  Hindu 
Yab-Yum,  "Father-Mother,"  the  sexual  union  of  a  sage  and  his 
Shakti  at  the  crucial  moment  of  death.14  Sexual  sacraments  were  in 
effect  practicing  for  that  moment,  when  the  enlightened  one  would 
be  restored  to  the  condition  of  primordial  bliss  as  an  androgynous 

The  Naassenes  said  no  enlightenment  was  possible  without  the 
Father-Mother  spirit,  an  androgyne  sometimes  called  Heavenly 
Horn  of  the  Moon.15  In  the  5th  century  a.d.,  Orphic  initiations  sought 
to  awaken  a  female  spirit  within  man,  to  render  him  sensitive  to  the 
message  of  the  Mysteries.  After  meeting  the  deities  in  a  death-and- 
rebirth  experience,  he  carried  a  bowl,  emblem  of  the  womb,  and 
touched  his  belly  like  a  gravid  woman,  signifying  "a  spiritual  experience 
uniting  the  opposed  ways  of  knowledge  of  the  male  and  female,  and 
fused  with  this  idea  is  that  of  a  new  life  conceived  within." 16 

Such  Gnostic  subtleties  were  disliked  by  the  orthodox,  who  viewed 
all  mergings  of  the  sexes  as  unequivocally  sinful.  After  Gnostic  sects 
were  crushed,  the  androgyne  was  consigned  to  hell  and  gave  birth  to 
many  curious  devils  with  both  male  and  female  attributes.  A  1 6th- 
century  book  showed  Satan  himself  seated  on  a  throne,  wearing  a  papal 
tiara,  with  bird  feet,  a  female  face  in  his  genital  area,  and  pendulous 
female  breasts.17  The  Devil  of  the  Tarot  pack  was  usually  androgynous, 
as  were  many  of  the  devils  represented  in  cathedral  carvings. 

1.0'Flaherty,34.  2.  Lamusse,  371.  3.  O'Flaherty,  298.  4.  Larousse,  90, 1 32. 

5.  Graves,  G.M.  1,  73.  6.  Baring-Gould,  C.M.M.A.,  375.  7.  Erman,  301. 

8.  Hays,  339.  9.  Hughes,  47.  10.  Cavendish,  P.E.,  27.  11.  J.H.  Smith,  C.G.,  287. 

12.  Malvern,  53.  13.  Pagels,  37.  14.  Rawson,  A.T.,  103. 

15.  Jung  &  von  Franz,  136.  16.  Campbell,  M.I.,  389.  17.  de  Givry,  125. 


Andromeda  Andromeda 

"Ruler  of  Men,"  Greek  title  of  the  Philistine  sea-queen  won  in  •  Ange,s 

marriage  by  Perseus,  who  supposedly  saved  her  from  the  sea-serpent  ^m^bm^m^™ 

Yamm.  Perseus  seems  to  have  been  a  Greek  name  for  Baal  in  this 

myth,  for  Baal  annually  fought  Yamm  for  the  love  of  Mother  Astarte, 

the  Philistines'  Goddess,  locally  named  Atargatis.  Baal  replaced 

Yamm,  then  was  himself  replaced  when  the  queen  tired  of  him  and  he 

became  Yamm  in  his  turn.  Andromeda  on  her  rock,  in  the  classic 

myth,  was  transformed  from  a  critical  observer  of  the  combat  into  a 


That  Perseus  played  the  role  of  sacred  king  in  the  original  myth 
is  shown  by  his  apotheosis  and  rising  to  dwell  in  the  stars.  So  also 
Heracles  was  raised  to  the  stars  after  performing  the  same  feat — 
slaying  the  great  sea  serpent  in  order  to  mate  with  Hesione,  "Queen  of 
Asia,"  probably  just  another  name  for  Andromeda-Atargatis.1 

1.  Graves,  CM.  1,224. 


"Man-slayer,"  title  of  the  Goddess  Aphrodite  as  a  Destroyer  or 
death-goddess.  She  was  also  the  Black  One,  the  Goddess  of  the  Tombs, 
and  the  Queen  Bee  who  killed  her  lovers  as  drone  bees  are  killed,  by 
castration  and  evisceration.  She  had  "many  titles  which  seem  inconsist- 
ent with  her  beauty  and  complaisance." '  That  was  because  classic 
mythographers  sought  to  make  her  a  love  goddess  only,  ignoring  her 
earlier  character  as  the  creating-and-destroying  Triple  Goddess  (see 

1.  Graves,  CM.  1,71-72. 


The  earliest  angels  were  heavenly  nymphs,  like  Hindu  apsaras,  who 
dispensed  sensual  bliss  to  the  blessed  ones.  Vikings  called  them 
Valkyries.  Greeks  called  them  Horae.  Persians  called  them  Houris,  or 
Peris  (fairies).  A  guardian  angel  was  a  personal  Shakti  who  watched 
over  a  man  and  took  him  into  her  ecstatic  embrace  at  the  moment 
of  death.  N 

Hindu  angels  were  created  primarily  for  lovemaking.  They  had  no 
menstruation,  pregnancy,  birth,  or  nursing,  though  they  were  moth- 
ers. Each  child  appeared  miraculously  on  its  mother's  knee  at  the  age  of 
five  years.  Apsaras  could  copulate  endlessly  with  gods  without  any 
emission  of  fluids  or  loss  of  energy.  Such  a  being  was  "the  perfect 
dispenser  of  sensual  delight  and  amorous  bliss  on  a  divine  scale."1 
Like  the  queen  of  the  Holy  Grail  palace  in  bardic  romance,  the  angel 
was  a  "Dispenser  of  Joy."  (See  Grail,  Holy.) 



Magic  Papyri 

Collections  of 
exorcisms,  invocations, 
charms,  and  spells 
widely  circulated  during 
the  early  Christian 
era,  used  as  bases  for 
later  grimoires  and 
Hermetic  texts. 

There  were  earthy  angels  too,  the  dakinis,  "Skywalkers."  Tantric 
writings  said  they  lived  in  the  Palace  of  Lotus  Light.  They  were 
sometimes  called  prostitutes'  daughters,  or  yoginis,  i.e.,  yoga- 

Although  such  angels  seemed  to  be  every  man's  wish  fulfillment, 
patriarchal  religions  denied  the  sexuality  of  angels.  Moslems  rejected 
the  Houris  (heavenly  "whores"),  and  insisted  the  angels  are  without 
carnal  desires.3  Yet  this  contradicted  the  teaching  of  the  Koran,  that 
after  death  every  hero  would  receive  beautiful  girls  as  heavenly 

European  Christianity  consigned  the  formerly  divine  Horae  to 
Fairyland,  the  earthly  paradise  distinguished  from  the  celestial  one. 
The  place  was  called  locus  voluptatis  terrestis,  the  Terrestrial  Place  of 
Pleasure,  or  pratum  felicitatus,  the  Paradise  of  Joy.5 

Angels  were  often  confused  with  seraphs  and  cherubs.  The  former 
were  six-winged  fiery  flying  serpents,  the  lightning-spirits  of  Chalde- 
an myth.  The  latter  were  Semitic  kerubh,  from  Sheban  mu-karrib, 
"priests  of  the  moon";  sometimes  they  could  take  the  form  of  birds. 
Angels  accompanying  the  Hindu  Great  Goddess  were  able  to  fly  on  the 
wings  of  garuda  birds.6 

Biblical  angels  were  "sons  of  God"  who  came  to  earth  to  beget 
children  on  mortal  women  (Genesis  6:4).  Later  these  were  called 
demons,  or  incubi,  or  "fallen"  angels.  The  Book  of  Enoch  blamed 
women  for  the  angels'  fall.  Women  had  "led  astray  the  angels  of 
heaven."7  In  the  Magic  Papryi,  the  words  angel,  spirit,  god,  and  demon 
were  interchangeable.8  When  St.  Paul  said  women's  heads  must  be 
covered  in  church  "because  of  the  angels"  (1  Corinthians  1 1:10),  he 
meant  the  daemones  (demons)  supposed  to  be  attracted  to  women's 
hair.  The  Greeks  thought  each  person  had  an  individual  guardian  angel 
or  daemon  which  could  appear  in  animal  form,  and  under  Christian- 
ity evolved  into  the  "familiar  spirit."  There  were  no  really  well-defined 
distinctions  between  angels,  demons,  familiars,  fairies,  elves,  saints, 
genii,  ancestral  ghosts,  or  pagan  gods.9  Among  supernatural  beings  one 
might  always  find  many  hazy  areas  of  overlapping  identities,  even 
"good"  or  "evil"  qualities  being  blurred. 

A  Gallup  poll  showed  in  1978  that  over  half  of  all  Americans  still 
believe  in  angels.10 

1.  Zimmer,  163.  2.  Tat/  &  Kent,  84, 148.  3.  Budge,  G.E.  1,  5. 
4.  Campbell,  Oc.M.,  430.  5.  Silberer,  212.  6.  Tatz  &  Kent,  146. 
7.  Tennant,  183-84.  8.  M.  Smith,  191.  9.  Wimberly,  423. 
10.  Newsweek,  June  26, 1978,  p.  32. 


Silent  Goddess  of  Rome,  shown  holding  a  finger  to  her  sealed 
mouth.  Some  said  Angerona  represented  the  secret  name  of  Rome, 
which  it  was  illegal  to  pronounce.1  In  all  probability  she  was  a  pre- 


Roman  title  of  the  same  primal  Creatress  whom  Gnostics  called  Sige, 
"Silence,"  personifying  the  lightless  and  soundless  womb  that  gave 
birth  to  the  first  deities.  Gnostics  said  Silence  was  the  mother  of  the 
Great  Goddess  herself. 

1.  Larousse,  214. 



Eddaic  "Hag  of  the  Iron  Wood,"  mother  of  Hel  and  of  the  Moon- 
dogs  who  bore  away  the  dead.  Danaans,  or  Danes,  knew  her  as  Anu, 
Yngona,  Nanna,  or  "Anna  of  the  Angles."  She  was  a  "hag"  in  the 
ancient  sense  of  "Holy  One";  the  Death-goddess.1  See  Dog. 

1.  Graves,  W.G,  409. 


Female  soul,  from  the  roots  an,  "heavenly,"  and  ma,  "mother," 
recalling  a  time  when  all  souls  were  supposed  to  emanate  from  the 
Heavenly  Mother.1  In  the  16th  century  a.d.  Guillaume  Postel  said 
every  soul  had  male  and  female  halves,  the  animus  and  anima.  The 
male  half  had  been  redeemed  by  Christ,  but  the  female  half  was  still 
unredeemed  and  awaited  a  female  savior.2  This  was  a  new  development 
of  the  old  Christian  view  that  only  males  had  any  souls  at  all.  The 
third  canon  of  the  Council  of  Nantes  in  660  a.d.  had  decided  that  all 
women  are  "soulless  brutes."5 

Alchemists  applied  the  word  anima  to  all  "spirits"  considered 
female:  Anima  Mercury,  Anima  Mundi,  etc.  The  Spirit  of  the  World 
was  connected  with  the  elements  of  earth  and  water,  like  Eleusinian 
Demeter,  "Mistress  of  Earth  and  Sea."  One  reason  alchemists  were 
suspected  of  heresy  was  their  notion  that  the  World-Soul  was  a  female 

Carl  Jung  revived  the  terms  animus  and  anima  to  describe  reason- 
ing and  intuitive  parts  of  the  mind  (i.e.,  left  and  right  hemispheres). 
Every  person's  anima  is  "often  symbolically  connected  with  both  earth 
and  water.  She  is  pictured  as  timeless  and  profoundly  wise. . . .  Each 
man's  first  and  formative  experience  of  the  anima  is  with  his  mother. 
Her  true  function  in  the  mind,  according  to  Jung,  is  creativity."4 

1.  Graves,  W.G.,  410.  2.  Seligmann,  223.  3.Dreifus,4.  4.  Cavendish,  T.,  79. 

Guillaume  Postel 

(1510-1581)  French 
scholar,  teacher,  and 
mystic,  friend  of 
Ignatius  Loyola, 
accepted  into  the  Jesuit 
order  but  later 
expelled  for  "wrong" 
ideas.  He  was 
imprisoned  in  Rome  by 
the  Inquisition,  until 
a  popular  uprising 
opened  the  prisons 
and  offered  him  a  lucky 


Emanation  of  Kali  the  Destroyer  as  the  spirit  of  cholera.  She  had 
many  such  emanations,  each  one  specializing  in  a  certain 
disease  capable  of  causing  death.  See  Kali  Ma. 


Ankh  Ankh 

Anne,  Saint  Egyptian  "Cross  of  Life"  representing  union  of  male  and  female 

^■■■■■■^^■^■m      sexual  symbols:  a  female  oval  surmounting  a  male  cross.  Its  other  name 
was  Key  of  the  Nile,  because  the  sacred  marriage  between  God  and 
Goddess  was  supposed  to  take  place  at  the  source  of  the  Nile  each  year 
before  the  flood.  The  Christian  version  of  the  Cross  of  Life,  which 
didn't  appear  in  Christian  art  until  after  the  5th  century  a.d.,  sig- 
nificantly lacked  the  feminine  oval  and  kept  only  the  masculine  part 
of  the  figure.1 

The  ankh  seems  to  have  evolved  from  an  ancient  symbol  of  the 
Goddess  in  Libya  and  Phoenicia:  a  narrow  triangle  surmounted  by 
a  crossbar  and  a  round  or  oval  head.2 

t  Egyptians  regarded  the  ankh  as  a  universal  life-charm.  "The  life  of 

every  being,  divine  or  human,  depended  on  his  or  her  possession  of 
it.  From  first  to  last  the  gods  are  seen  carrying  it  in  their  right  hands,  and 
they  gave  life  to  their  kings  and  servants  presenting  it  to  them."3 
Early  Christians  also  used  the  ankh  occasionally  as  an  emblem  of 

immortality,  calling  it  an  ansated  cross.  They  knew  the  Egyptians  had 

Ankh  a  certain  letter-hieroglyph  that  "stood  for  the  life  to  come;  and  this  letter 

had  the  form  of  a  cross."4  In  hieroglyphics  the  ankh  stood  simply  for 
the  word  "life." 5 

I.  H.  Smith,  188.  2.  d'Alviella,  186-90.  3.  Budge,  A.T.,  128. 
4.  de  Voragine,  550.  5.  Budge,  E.L,  83. 


Sumerian  prototype  of  the  many  forms  of  the  Great  Goddess  named 
Anna,  Ana,  or  Hannah  throughout  the  Middle  East  and  Mediteranean 
lands.  The  name  meant  Lady  of  Heaven.  See  Anne,  Saint. 


Himalayan  mountain  called  Great  Breast  Full  of  Nourishment;  a 
manifestation  of  the  Great  Goddess  as  the  home  and  support  of  the 

Anne,  Saint 

Mythical  mother  of  the  virgin  Mary,  from  the  Middle-Eastern 
Goddess  Anna,  or  Hannah,  or  Di-Ana,  mother  of  Mari.  From  Sumeria 
to  pre-Roman  Latium  she  was  known  as  Anna,  the  Grandmother- 
Goddess;  Anatha  in  Syria,  Anat  in  Canaan,  Ana  or  Anah  in  several  Old 
Testament  transformations.  Long  before  the  Bible  was  written,  the 
Goddess  Anna  was  already  known  as  the  Grandmother  of  God.  Hence, 


the  choice  of  her  name  for  the  mother  of  God's  Mother  is  hardly  Anne,  Saint 


Syriac  versions  of  the  Book  of  James  said  God's  Grandmother  was        ^^^^^^^^— 
not  Anna  but  Dinah,  actually  the  same  name,  a  Semitic  Di-Ana  or 
"Goddess  Ana."  Dinah  was  the  ancestress  of  Dinaite  tribes  who  settled 
in  Sumeria  (Ezra  4:9).  As  Anatha,  she  was  the  consort  of  Yahweh  at 
Elephantine.2  As  Anna  Perenna  she  was  Grandmother  Time  to  the 
Romans,  mother  of  the  Aeons.  As  Ana  or  Anu  she  ruled  Celtic 
tribes.  As  Nanna,  she  was  an  incarnation  of  Freya  in  the  mother-bride  of 
Balder.  In  Phrygia  too,  she  was  Nana,  mother  of  the  Savior.  She  was 
really  as  old  as  the  oldest  civilization.  A  Sumerian  prayer  declared: 
"Hear  O  ye  regions,  the  praise  of  Queen  Nana;  magnify  the 
Creatress,  exalt  the  dignified,  exalt  the  Glorious  One,  draw  nigh  unto 
the  Mighty  Lady."3 

Romans  worshipped  the  Goddess  as  Anna  Perenna,  "Eternal 
Anna,"  mother  of  the  Aeons.  She  stood  at  the  change  of  years,  a  two- 
headed  Goddess  of  Time  with  two  faces  named  Prorsa  and  Postverta, 
looking  forward  and  backward  from  her  heavenly  gate  among  the 
stars,  where  one  celestial  cycle  merged  into  the  next.  So  she  stood  for 
both  Alpha  and  Omega,  beginning  and  end.  Under  the  name  of 
Carmenta  she  invented  all  the  letters  in  between.4  She  was  also  Jana,  or 
Juno,  mother  of  the  January  New  Year.  Classical  myths  masculin- 
ized her  as  the  two-faced  Janus,  god  of  gateways.  Christians  may  have 
confused  icons  labeled  IANA  with  the  mother  of  the  Virgin;  for  Jana- 
Juno  was  the  virgin  mother  of  the  savior-god  Mars. 

Ovid  said  Anna  was  the  same  as  the  Moon-goddess  Minerva. 
Sappho  named  her  "the  Queen." 5  To  the  Celts,  she  was  the  same  as 
their  Ana,  first  of  the  female  trinity  of  the  Morrigan,  associated  with  the 
Cauldron  of  Regeneration.  Her  moon-temple  used  to  stand  at  Cnoc 
Aine  in  Limerick,  now  a  shrine  of  "St.  Anne."6  To  Irish  pagans,  Ana 
meant  "mother."  It  also  came  to  mean  wealth,  plenty,  treasure.7 

As  Grandmother-goddess,  Ana  could  be  a  destroying  Crone. 
Some  myths  called  her  Morg-ana,  "Invincible  Queen  Death."  Medi- 
eval Christians  called  her  Anna  of  the  Angles,  or  Black  Annis,  or 
Angurboda,  the  Hag  of  the  Iron  Wood,  mother  of  Hel.8  The  magic 
pentacle  was  the  sign  of  Morg-ana.9  A  similar  five-pointed  star  stood  for 
the  underworld  in  Egyptian  hieroglyphics.10  This  same  star  was  the 
official  sigil  of  St.  Anne.11 

In  her  Christianized  form,  Anne  had  three  husbands,  gave  birth  to 
many  saints,  and  became  the  patron  of  midwives  and  miners.  Neu- 
mann says,  "All  this  bears  witness  to  her  original  fertility  aspect  as  Earth 
Mother."  n 

St.  Anne  was  of  crucial  importance  in  the  dogma  of  the  virgin 
Mary's  immaculate  conception,  adopted  as  an  article  of  faith  in 
1854,  after  seven  centuries  of  controversy.13  In  the  official  Catholic 
view,  original  sin  was  transmitted  by  sexual  acts.  Therefore,  so  Mary 


Antic  Hey 

Johannes  Trithemius 

German  scholar,  Abbot 
of  Sponheim 

could  be  born  without  taint  of  original  sin,  St.  Anne  herself  had  to  be  in- 
nocent of  sexuality.  Accordingly,  Johannes  Trithemius  proclaimed 
that  Anne  "was  chosen  by  God  for  her  appointed  services  before  the 
foundation  of  the  world.  She  conceived  'without  the  action  of  man,' 
and  was  as  pure  as  her  daughter."  H 

At  first  the  church  accepted  this  doctrine,  because  it  seemed  to 
solve  the  problem  of  Mary's  sinlessness.  Later  it  was  rejected.  Two 
virgin  births  made  one  too  many.  In  the  end,  St.  Anne  was  said  to  have 
conceived  Mary  in  the  normal  way  but  the  child  was  freed  in  the 
womb  of  original  sin.  Though  these  intimate  matters  are  supposed  to  be 
known  in  minute  detail,  churchmen  incongruously  admit  that  "noth- 
ing whatever  is  known  about  the  parents  of  the  Virgin  Mary." 15 

1.  Graves,  W.G.,  411.  2.  Hays,  89.  3.  Stone,  219.  4.  Larousse,  2 1 0. 
5.  Graves,  W.G.,  408.  6.  Loomis,  387.  7.  Joyce  1,  261.  8.  Sturluson,  56. 
9.  Loomis,  342.  10.  Budge,  E.L.,  75.  11.  Brewster,  343. 
12.  Neumann,  A.C.U.,  57.  13.  Young,  203.  14.  Neumann,  A.C.U.,  59. 
15.  Attwater,  186. 

Antic  Hey 

Dance  step  of  the  medieval  Carnival  King:  antico  from  Latin 
antiquus,  "ancient,  venerable."  Carnival  "antics"  were  connected  with 
the  Old  Religions,  whose  sacred  processions  were  often  accompanied 
by  clowns  deliberately  making  obscene  gestures  and  jokes  to  heighten 
the  spirit  of  revelry.1  The  "hey"  was,  and  is,  a  figure-eight  pattern 
paced  on  the  ground,  the  sign  meaning  "infinity"  in  Hindu-Arabic 
numeral  systems  and  in  their  descendant,  modern  mathematics. 
Choruses  of  old  folk  songs  call  for  the  hey,  in  nonsense  phrases  like 
"Hey,  nonny  nonny,"  or  "Hey,  deny  down."  Thus  the  antic  hey  was 
really  a  pagan  liturgy  in  song  or  dance  or  both,  performed  at  secularized 
versions  of  the  ancient  rites. 
1.  Funk,  p.  54. 


Virgin-born  son  of  the  devil,  supposed  to  appear  during  the  world's 
Last  Days.  Christianity  never  escaped  the  patterns  of  dualism,  whereby 
each  god  had  to  have  an  equal  and  opposite  anti-god.  Antichrist  was 
the  Christian  equivalent  of  Chaldean  Aciel,  lord  of  the  nether  world, 
counterbalancing  the  solar  god  of  the  heavens. 

The  coming  of  Antichrist  has  been  announced  and  re-announced 
throughout  the  entire  Christian  era,  especially  in  times  of  political 
and  social  stress.  His  title  has  been  laid  on  Nero,  Attila,  Genghis  Khan, 
Merlin,  Frederick  II,  and  many  others  including  several  popes.  More 
recently,  Napoleon,  Kaiser  Wilhelm,  and  Hitler  were  all  nominated  for 
the  position.  See  Doomsday. 



General  term  for  Christian  sects  that  followed  the  original  doctrine  of 
apotheosis,  believing  they  could  become  "one  with  Christ."  Like  their 
pagan  contemporaries,  many  early  Christians  thought  the  only  route 
to  immortality  was  deification,  and  the  object  of  their  Mysteries  was  to 
learn  how  to  be  deified.  The  distinction  between  men  and  gods  was 
that  men  died  and  gods  didn't.  Thus,  one's  immortality  depended  on 
becoming  a  god,  often  by  sacramental  procedures  such  as  eating  a 
god's  flesh  and  blood  (see  Cannibalism). 

Clement  of  Alexandria  said:  "That  man  with  whom  the  Logos 

dwells ...  is  made  like  God  and  is  beautiful [T]hat  man  becomes 

God,  for  God  so  wills  it [T]he  Logos  of  God  became  man  that  from 

man  you  might  learn  how  man  may  become  God. . . .  [T]he  true 
Christian  Gnostic  has  already  become  God." l 

This  doctrine  of  deification  was  soundly  based  on  pagan  prece- 
dent. Worshippers  of  Hermes  the  Logos  believed  that  "This  is  the 
good  end  for  those  who  have  attained  knowledge,  namely,  Deification." 
They  said  to  Hermes,  "Thou  art  I,  and  I  am  thou;  thy  name  is  mine, 
for  I  am  thy  image  (eidolon)."  Mithraists  used  the  same  formula,  "I  am 
thou  and  thou  art  I,"  which  the  Gospels  put  in  the  mouth  of  Jesus, 
"Abide  in  me,  and  I  in  you"  (John  1 5:4).  Seneca  said,  "A  holy  spirit 
dwells  within  us."  Epictetus  wrote:  "You  are  bearing  a  God  with 
you. ...  It  is  within  yourself  that  you  carry  him."  Cicero  said  initiation 
into  the  Mysteries  taught  a  man  he  could  be  God,  "inferior  in  no 
whit  to  the  celestials."2 

The  theological  pitfall  in  the  concept  of  salvation  through  apotheo- 
sis was  that  identification  of  self  and  god  led  to  what  Tantric  sages 
called  Svecchacara,  "Do  As  You  Will."  In  effect,  the  perfected  sage 
could  do  nothing  evil  because  he  was  God,  and  God  was  incapable  of 
sinning.3  Therefore  he  was  above  all  man-made  laws,  and  could  do 
as  he  pleased. 

Greek  democracy  was  based  on  a  related  idea  that  through 
enlightenment  and  reason  each  citizen  would  become  capable  of  self- 
government  and  would  make  no  moral  errors.  This  did  not  apply  to 
slaves,  women,  or  those  who  owned  no  property;  such  were  not 
classed  as  citizens.  Mature  male  landowners  however  could  become 
idiotae,  "self-gods."4  Thus  the  word  "idiot"  began  in  Greek  with  the 
sense  of  "one  who  will  not  be  governed,"  that  is,  one  who  believed  the 
divine  will  dwelt  in  himself. 

Numerous  medieval  Christian  sects  took  the  Antinomian  route  to 
salvation,  believing  that,  like  eastern  sages,  they  could  become  one 
with  the  divine.  These  mystics  "in  their  identification  with  God  sup- 
posed that  upon  their  conscious  union  with  Him  they  were  exempt 
from  the  rules  governing  ordinary  men."  Leaders  like  Amalric  of  Bena, 
Johann  Hartmann,  sects  like  the  Alumbrados,  Illuminates,  Adamites, 
and  others  taught  that  when  their  flesh  was  occupied  by  the  holy  spirit 


Clement  of 
Alexandria  (Titus 
Flavius  Clemens) 
Christian  presbyter  and 
teacher  of  the  late 
2nd  century  a.d.,  once 
reckoned  a  saint,  but 
removed  from  the 
canon  of  saints  in 
1586  by  Pope  SixtusV. 


"Enlightened  Ones" 
Spanish  heretics  of 
the  15th  to  17th 
centuries,  recruited 
from  reform 
movements  among 
the  Jesuits  and 
Franciscans.  They 
were  eventually 
exterminated  by  the 

Illuminati  or 

Bavarian  secret 
society  founded  by 
Adam  Weishaupt,  a 
former  Jesuit.  The 
society  was  banned 
in  1785. 

Adamites  18th- 
century  sectaries  who 
believed  nakedness 
represented  the  natural 
state  of  innocence  in 
which  Adam  dwelt 
before  he  "fell"  into 
sin,  and  began  to  clothe 


Anubis  they  could  commit  no  sins  of  the  flesh.  For  them,  sexual  promiscuity 

was  only  a  natural  "embracing  of  God."5 
^^^^^^^^^^^  Brothers  and  Sisters  of  the  Free  Spirit  undertook  to  demonstrate 

the  redemptive  virtues  of  sexuality,  nakedness,  and  scorn  of  the 
conventions.  The  more  openly  they  displayed  their  hippie-like  beha- 
viors, the  more  closely  they  approached  the  divine  essence.  Frazer 
remarked,  "Their  progress  toward  this  mystic  communion  was  acceler- 
ated by  the  Inquisition,  and  they  expired  in  the  flames,  not  merely 
with  unclouded  serenity,  but  with  the  most  triumphant  feelings  of 
cheerfulness  and  joy."6  They  had  their  own  martyr,  a  literary  sister 
who  wrote  the  gospel  of  their  sect,  The  Mirror  of  Free  Souls.  She  and 
her  book  both  were  excommunicated  and  burned  in  1 3 10  a.d.7 

Antinomian  ideas  were  often  defined  as  heresy,  as  in  the  case  of 
Simon  Morin,  who  seems  to  have  had  fairly  standard  delusions  of 
grandeur.  He  said  he  was  the  incarnate  second  coming  of  Christ,  and 
was  incapable  of  committing  a  sin;  anything  he  did  must  be  wor- 
shipped. The  church  disagreed,  and  burned  him  as  a  witch.8 

The  usual  Antinomian  excuses  for  sexual  self-expression  infiltrated 
a  group  of  nuns  in  the  Dominican  convent  of  St.  Catherine  de  Prato. 
Early  in  the  19th  century,  a  text  of  the  official  inquiry  into  this  case  was 
published  in  Brussels,  then  "withdrawn  at  the  insistence  of  the  Papal 
Court.  The  second  edition  is . . .  much  expurgated."  One  of  the  nuns 
expounded  on  her  Antinomian  teachings:  "It  is  sufficient  to  elevate 
the  spirit  to  God  and  then  no  action,  whatever  it  be,  is  sinful. . . .  Love 
of  God  and  one's  neighbor  is  the  whole  of  the  commandments.  Man 
who  unites  with  God  by  means  of  woman  satisfies  both  command- 
ments. So  also  does  he  who,  lifting  his  spirit  to  God,  has  enjoyment 
with  a  person  of  the  same  sex  or  alone. ...  In  doing  that  which  we 
erroneously  call  impure  is  real  purity  ordained  by  God,  without 
which  man  cannot  arrive  at  a  knowledge  of  Him."9 

Such  ideas  were  typically  Oriental,  as  opposed  to  the  Christian  idea 

of  entering  into  a  relationship  with  a  God  who  was  an  external 

"other."  Though  the  Gospels  said  "the  kingdom  of  God  is  within  you" 

(Luke  17:21),  orthodox  Christianity  treated  this  as  a  heretical  idea.10 

1.  Angus,  106.  2.  Angus,  102, 108, 1 10, 1 12.  3.  Avalon,  624-25. 

4.  Lindsay,  O.A.,  91.  5.  Avalon,  636.  6.  Frazer,  G.B.,  117-18.  7.Tuchman,  317. 

8.  Summers,  G.W.,  429-30.  9.  Avalon,  pp.  637-39.  10.  Campbell,  M.L.B.,  79, 95. 


Jackal-headed  Egyptian  god  of  the  underworld  and  of  mummifica- 
tion; judge  of  the  dead;  Egypt's  primary  psychopomp,  like  Hermes  in 
Greece.  Mated  to  Nephthys,  the  underground  aspect  of  Isis,  Anubis 
was  sometimes  known  as  the  Great  Dog.  He  was  considered  essential  to 
the  worship  of  Isis  and  Osiris.  Plutarch  said  he  had  "a  power  among 


the  Egyptians  much  like  that  of  Hecate  among  the  Greeks,  he  being  ter- 
restrial as  well  as  Olympic Those  that  worship  the  dog,  have  a 

certain  secret  meaning  that  must  not  be  revealed.  In  the  more  remote 
and  ancient  times  the  dog  had  the  highest  honor  paid  to  him  in 
Egypt."  ■  Anubis  may  have  been  originally  a  canine  incarnation  of 
Shiva,  whose  name  also  meant  a  jackal.2 

1.  Knight,  S.L.,  113.  2.  Mahanirvanatantra,  113. 


var.  Anukis 


"The  Clasper,"  an  Egyptian  Goddess  personifying  the  yonic  source 
of  the  Nile  flood.  Her  symbol  was  the  cowrie,  always  emblematic  of 
female  genitals.  Her  union  with  the  ithyphallic  god  was  supposed  to 
bring  life-giving  Nile  waters  to  the  land.  She  "clasped"  a  number  of 
gods,  including — in  the  5  th  century  b.c. — the  Hebrew  Jehovah.1 

Like  Kali  Ma  in  India,  Anuket  had  four  arms,  representing  union 
between  male  and  female  principles.  The  general  pattern  for  such 
deities  was  that  two  arms  held  symbols  of  the  male  elements,  and  two 
held  symbols  of  the  female  elements.  Yet  she  was  known  as  "The 
One."  She  was  "self-begotten  and  self-produced,  and  whilst  yet  a  virgin 
gave  birth  to  the  sun  god." 2 

At  the  Festival  of  the  Inundation,  Egyptians  sang  to  her:  "Thou 
art  the  bringer  of  food,  thou  art  the  mighty  one  of  meat  and  drink, 
thou  art  the  creator  of  all  good  things.  Thou  fillest  the  storehouses;  thou 
heapest  high  with  corn  the  granaries,  and  thou  hast  care  for  the  poor 
and  needy."3 

1.  Graves,  W.G.,  405;  Lamusse,  37.  2.  Budge,  D.N.,  159.  3.  Budge,  D.N.,  106. 

Festival  of  the 
Inundation  Annual 
celebration  of  the 
coming  of  the  Nile 
flood,  which  brought 
the  water  and  fresh  silt 
necessary  to  the 
fertility  of  the  entire 
Nile  valley,  where 
rain  was  almost 


Egyptian  and  Greek  names  of  the  Great  Serpent  of  the  underworld, 
who  threatened  to  swallow  the  sun  god  every  night  as  he  passed  through 
the  realm  of  darkness,  returning  from  west  to  east.  (See  Serpent.) 
Ra's  priesthood  evidently  decided  at  one  point  that  Ra  faced  danger  in 
the  underworld,  so  the  faithful  would  be  encouraged  to  help  the  sun 
return  with  their  nightly  prayers.  However,  the  Serpent  was  a  common 
personification  of  the  Egyptian  underworld  or  Tuat  itself.  The  realm 
of  darkness  with  its  various  "chambers"  was  the  interior  of  the  serpent's 
body,  through  which  the  sun  god  must  pass,  as  he  was  always 
swallowed  at  each  sunset.1 

In  medieval  alchemy  the  "Apophis-snake"  was  confused  with  the 
Hermetic  Ouroboros,  a  hidden  world  spirit  in  the  form  of  a  serpent, 
who  might  reveal  the  secret  of  the  Philosopher's  Stone. 

1.  Budge,  G.E.  1,266. 

var.  Apophis 



Celtiberian  Dating 
from  the  occupation  of 
the  Iberian  peninsula 
by  Celtic  tribes, 
especially  the 
loosely-knit  empire 
known  as  Brigantia, 
ruled  by  the  Goddess 


Pointed  conical  cap  worn  by  the  Roman  high  priest,  Flamen  Dialis. 
When  outdoors,  he  must  always  have  the  apex  on  his  head.1  It  was  a 
phallic  symbol  representing  his  continual  union  with  the  Queen  of 
Heaven.  It  has  been  shown  that  "In  the  symbolism  of  dreams  and  of 
myths  the  hat  is  usually  the  phallus."2 

The  Flamen's  wife,  the  Flaminica,  represented  the  Goddess.  She 
was  the  more  important  dignitary  of  the  two.  If  his  marriage  was 
terminated  by  her  death,  the  Flamen  immediately  lost  his  sacred  office 
and  reverted  to  a  private  citizen.  Such  customs  show  that  the  powers 
of  priests  "in  Rome  as  elsewhere,  derived  in  the  first  instance  from  an 
older  priesthood  of  magical  women."3 

The  same  conical  cap  belonged  to  the  Lord  of  the  Underworld  in 
Celtiberian  pagan  imagery.  He  was  Helman:  a  man  belonging  to  the 
Goddess  Hel.4  Sometimes  he  was  said  to  be  the  god  Frey,  consort  of 
Hel's  heavenly  or  lunar  aspect,  Freya.5 

The  same  conical  cap  evolved  into  the  traditional  headdress  of  sor- 
cerers and  witches;  the  Fool's  Cap  (or  Dunce  Cap)  worn  by  the 
Carnival  King;  the  bishop's  miter;  the  pope's  tiara;  and  before  them  all, 
the  conical  crown  of  Egyptian  pharaohs,  emblem  of  the  king's  union 
with  the  Sky-goddess.  To  the  present  day,  the  conical  witch-hat  is  worn 
by  Tantric  priests  and  sorcerers  in  Tibet.6 

1.  Rose,  209.  2.  Silberer,  87.  3.  Briffault  3, 20-21.  4.  Knight,  D.W.P.,  73. 
5.  H.R.E.  Davidson,  P.S.,  134.  6.  Waddell,  483. 


Often  dismissed  as  a  "Greek  goddess  of  love,"  Aphrodite  was  really 
much  more  than  that.  Like  Kali,  she  was  a  Virgin-Mother-Crone 
trinity.  She  was  once  indistinguishable  from  the  Fates  (Moirai);  her 
old  name  was  Moira,  and  she  was  said  to  be  older  than  Time.  She  gov- 
erned the  world  by  ius  naturale,  the  natural  law  of  the  maternal  clan.1 

She  was  not  only  Greek.  She  was  the  Dea  Syria,  also  known  as 
Asherah  or  Astarte,  Goddess  of  the  oldest  continuously-occupied 
temple  in  the  world.2  She  was  the  ancestral  mother  of  the  Romans,  for 
she  gave  birth  to  their  founding  father,  Aeneas.3  Under  the  name  of 
Venus,  she  was  the  mother  of  the  Venetii,  whose  capital  city  became 
Venice,  called  "Queen  of  the  Sea"  after  the  Goddess  herself. 

One  of  Aphrodite's  major  centers  of  worship  was  the  city  of 
Paphos  on  Cyprus,  the  island  named  for  its  copper  mines.  Thus,  she 
was  called  "the  Cyprian"  or  "the  Paphian,"  and  her  sacred  metal  was 
copper.  She  was  also  called  Mari,  the  Sea.  Egyptians  referred  to  her 
island  as  Ay-Mari.4 

During  the  Christian  era,  Aphrodite's  temple  on  Cyprus  was 
converted  into  a  sanctuary  of  the  virgin  Mary,  another  name  of  the 
same  Goddess,  but  in  this  sanctuary  the  virgin  Mary  is  hailed  to  this  day 
as  Panaghia Aphroditessa,  "All-holy  Aphrodite."5 


Continued  worship  of  the  goddess  on  Cyprus  probably  contributed  Apis 

to  the  Christian  belief  that  the  whole  population  of  Cyprus  descend- 
ed from  demons.6  In  reality,  Cyprian  Aphrodite  was  like  all  other  ^^^^^^^^— 
manifestations  of  the  Great  Goddess:  ruling  birth,  life,  love,  death 
time,  and  fate,  reconciling  man  to  all  of  them  through  sensual  and 
sexual  mysticism.  The  Cyprian  sage  Zenon  taught  Aphrodite's  phi- 
losophy: "mankind  and  the  universe  were  bound  together  in  the  system 

of  fate Diogenes  Laertios  tells  us  that  Zenon  was  the  first  to 

define  the  end  of  human  existence  as  'life  in  accordance  with  nature.'  "7 

Aphrodite  had  almost  as  many  "emanations"  as  Thousand-Named 
Kali.  She  was  not  only  Mari  and  Moira  and  Marina  and  Pelagia  and 
Stella  Maris,  all  titles  related  to  her  control  of  the  sea;  she  was  also 
Ilithyia,  Goddess  of  childbirth;  Hymen,  Goddess  of  marriage;  Venus, 
Goddess  of  sexuality  and  the  hunt;  Urania,  Queen  of  Heaven;  Andro- 
phonos,  the  Destroyer  of  Men;  and  many  others.  She  was  often 
identified  with  Isis.  Anchises,  her  lover  who  begot  Aeneas  and  then  was 
castrated,  had  a  name  meaning  "he  who  mates  with  Isis."8  Under 
several  of  her  names,  Aphrodite  mated  with  Semitic  gods.  Her  cult 
occupied  the  main  temple  in  Jerusalem  after  70  a.d.  In  the  4th 
century  it  was  said  that  Constantine's  mother  found  the  true  cross  of 
Christ  buried  in  Aphrodite's  Jerusalem  temple.  (See  Cross.) 

One  of  Aphrodite's  greatest  shrines  in  Asia  Minor  was  the  city  of 
Aphrodisias,  once  dedicated  to  Ishtar.  Up  to  the  12th  century  a.d., 
when  the  city  was  taken  by  Seljuk  Turks,  the  Goddess  was  worshipped 
there  as  the  patron  of  arts  and  letters,  crafts,  and  culture.9  Recent 
excavations  have  uncovered  exquisite  artifacts  and  statuary,  bespeaking 
a  cultivated  and  sophisticated  lifestyle  under  the  Goddess's  rule.10 

The  calendar  still  keeps  the  name  of  Aphrodite  on  the  month 
dedicated  to  her,  April  (Aphrilis).  The  ancient  Kalendar  of  Romulus 
said  this  was  the  month  of  Venus.11 

1.  Bachofen,  57, 192.  2.  Encyc.  Brit,  "Byblos."  3.  Graves,  G.M.  1,  69. 
4.  Graves,  W.G.,  410.  5.  Ashe,  192.  6.  Cavendish,  P.E.,  104. 
7.  Lindsay,  O.A.,  103.  8.  Graves,  G.M.  1, 71-72.  9.  Lederer,  170. 
10.  National  Geographic,  v.  141,  n.  6  (June  1972).  11.  Brewster,  172. 


Egyptian  lunar  bull  god  annually  sacrificed  at  Memphis.  Later  he  was 
combined  with  Osiris  to  produce  the  syncretic  god  of  the  Ptolemies, 
Osorapis,  or  Sarapis.  Apis  was  begotten  in  bull  form  when  moon- 
beams fell  on  a  cow  in  heat.  He  was  identified  by  special  markings, 
notably  symbols  of  the  Goddess:  a  triangle  on  his  forehead,  a  flying 
vulture  on  his  side,  a  crescent  moon  on  his  flank.  After  death  each  Apis 
bull  was  elaborately  embalmed  and  buried  in  the  vast  underground 
bull-tombs.1  In  mummy  form,  like  all  Egyptian  gods,  he  became  "an 

1 .  Larousse,  44. 


Apollo  Apollo 

Greek  sun  god  who  took  over  the  powers  of  his  twin  sister  Artemis, 
^^^^^^^^^^^      the  Moon.  Originally,  he  was  her  child,  as  the  sun  was  born  of 

the  Moon-goddess  in  Egypt  and  elsewhere.  He  was  also  her  totemic 
beast  in  several  forms:  a  wolf  (Apollo  Lycaeus),  a  mouse  (Apollo 
Smintheus),  or  a  golden-maned  lion  (Apollo  Chrysocomes). 

The  fully  anthropomorphized  Apollo  laid  claim  to  the  Goddess's 
powers  of  prophecy,  poetry,  music,  magic,  and  healing.  His  priest- 
hood adopted  the  Muses,  the  Graces,  even  the  Great  Serpent  who  gave 
oracles  from  the  earth-womb,  Apollo  Python,  known  as  Sol  Niger 
(Black  Sun)  during  his  nightly  sojourn  in  the  underworld.  Egyptians 
called  him  Apep  or  Apophis,  the  serpent  of  darkness.  In  the  Bible  he 
is  Apollyon,  "Spirit  of  the  Pit"  (Revelation  9:1 1). 

Apollo's  serpent-form  inspired  the  Pythoness,  priestess  of  the 
Delphic  oracle,  Greece's  foremost  temple  of  prophecy.  This  temple 
belonged  to  the  Goddess  in  the  beginning;  delphi  means  womb.  Even 
Apollo's  priests  admitted  that  she  had  owned  the  oracle  in  her 
trinitarian  guise  as  mother  of  earth,  heaven,  and  the  abyss:  the  first  of  all 
deities  to  prophesy,  the  Earth-mother;  and  Themis,  mother  of  the  sea 
and  of  all  Themistes,  "oracles";  and  the  Moon-goddess,  Artemis,  under 
the  name  of  Phoebe — another  title  stolen  by  Apollo,  who  became 
known  as  Phoebus.1 

Apollonian  priests  naturally  directed  their  energies  toward  con- 
quest of  the  oracles.  "The  reason  why  a  deity  associated  with  political 
conquest  and  order  should  take  possession  of  oracular  shrines  is  obvious; 
oracles  were  the  chief  means  of  controlling  public  opinion  and  public 
action,  and  to  control  the  oracles  was  as  necessary  to  a  political  god  as  it 
is  to  later  politicians  to  control  the  press  or  education."2 

Laurel  became  Apollo's  sacred  plant  because  it  was  the  plant  of 
inspired  poetic  frenzy,  which  is  why  Britain's  national  poet  is  still 
called  Laureate,  the  laurel-crowned  one.  The  Delphic  Pythoness 
chewed  leaves  of  cherry  laurel  to  induce  her  poetic-prophetic  trances. 
Cherry  laurel  contains  traces  of  cyanide,  enough  to  cause  delirium, 
foaming  at  the  mouth,  and  other  symptoms  of  divine  possession. 

Apollo's  priests  used  the  oracles  to  create  new  patriarchal  laws, 
overturning  the  laws  of  the  matriarchate.  Apollo's  most  notable 
judicial  act  was  to  absolve  Orestes  from  the  crime  of  killing  his  mother. 
Apollo  said  it  was  no  crime,  because  a  mother  is  not  a  real  parent; 
only  a  father  truly  gives  life  to  a  child,  the  same  "Apollonian"  opinion 
later  adopted  by  Christian  theologians.3  Yet  this  patriarchal  opinion 
was  negated  by  Apollo's  own  surname  of  Letoides,  "son  of  Leto."4  He 
carried  the  name  of  his  mother  only,  after  the  custom  of  the  matri- 
archal Lycians  who  recognized  strictly  matrilineal  ancestry,  and  in 
whose  country  Apollo's  cult  first  evolved. 

In  his  earliest  manifestations,  Apollo  was  subordinate  to  the  God- 
dess as  her  dog-faced  or  wolf-faced  door-guardian:  a  "Spirit  of  the 
Pit"  like  Apollyon,  another  name  for  Anubis  or  Cerberus.  Four  Hittite 


altars  found  in  Anatolia  were  dedicated  to  a  god  named  Apulunas, 
Guardian  of  Gates,  forerunner  of  Apollo  Lycaeus  or  "Wolfish  Apol- 
lo." 5  Once  he  walked  at  the  Goddess's  heel,  like  Anubis;  but  this 
was  suppressed  and  forgotten. 

To  some  early  Christians,  Apollo  became  a  junior  God.  He  was 
even  said  to  have  fathered  on  mortal  virgins  several  pagan  sages 
respected  by  the  church,  such  as  Plato.6  Healing  miracles  were  widely 
attributed  to  Apollo.7  Christians  sought  his  intervention  in  certain 
illnesses.  It  was  claimed  that  if  a  naked  virgin  touched  the  afflicted  part, 
saying,  "Apollo  denieth  that  the  heat  of  the  plague  can  increase 
where  a  naked  virgin  quencheth  it,"  the  patient  would  get  well.8 

Under  his  title  of  Benedictus,  "Good-speaker,"  Apollo  was  even 
canonized,  and  became  St.  Benedict.9 

1.  Lederer,  149.  2.  Briffault  3,  153-54.  3.  Bachofen,  159.  4.  Guthrie,  83. 
5.  Guthrie,  86.  6.  Shumaker,  152.  7.  Graves,  W.G.,  433.  8.  Hazlitt  354 
9.  Attwater,  62. 



Describing  the  religious  customs  of  the  Aztecs,  Father  Acosta  unwit- 
tingly gave  one  of  the  real  purposes  of  Jesus's  twelve  companions: 

They  took  a  captive . . .  and  afore  they  did  sacrifice  him  unto  their  idols, 
they  gave  him  the  name  of  the  idol,  saying  that  he  did  represent  the 
same  idol. . . .  When  he  went  through  the  streets,  the  people  came  forth 
to  worship  him,  and  every  one  brought  him  an  alms,  with  children  and 
sick  folks,  that  he  might  cure  them,  and  bless  them,  suffering  him  to  do  all 
things  at  his  pleasure,  only  he  was  accompanied  with  ten  or  twelve  men 
lest  he  should  fly. . . .  The  feast  being  come,  and  he  grown  fat,  they  killed 
him,  opened  him,  and  ate  him,  making  a  solemn  sacrifice  of  him. ' 

This  devoured  Savior,  closely  watched  by  his  ten  or  twelve 
guards,  embodied  the  god  Quetzalcoatl,  who  was  born  of  a  virgin,  slain 
in  atonement  for  a  primal  sin,  and  whose  Second  Coming  was 
confidently  expected.2  He  was  often  represented  as  a  trinity  signified  by 
three  crosses,  a  large  one  between  the  smaller  ones.5  Father  Acosta 
naively  said,  "It  is  strange  that  the  devil  after  his  manner  hath  brought  a 
Trinity  into  idolatry."4  His  church  found  it  all  too  familiar,  and  long 
kept  his  book  as  one  of  its  secrets. 

The  Gospels  contain  hints  that  Jesus  was  as  reluctant  as  the 
Quetzalcoatl-victim.  Once  he  ran  away  from  his  "apostles"  and  fled 
alone  into  the  mountains,  fearing  men  would  "come  and  take  him  by 
force,  to  make  him  a  king"  (John  6:1 5).  That  is,  he  didn't  want  the 
fatal  honor  of  being  a  sacred  king  of  the  Jews,  the  doomed  Bridegroom 
of  Zion.  The  apostles  caught  up  with  him  in  Capernaum,  and  his 
subsequent  speeches  indicate  resignation  to  his  fate. 

He  said  he  was  the  bread  of  God,  come  down  from  heaven  to  give 
life  to  the  world:  "The  bread  that  I  will  give  is  my  flesh,  which  I  will 
give  for  the  life  of  the  world Whoso  eateth  my  flesh,  and  drinketh 

Jose  de  Acosta 

16th-century  Spanish 
Jesuit  missionary  who 
accompanied  the 
conquistadores,  and 
wrote  a  history  of 
native  cultures  in  Peru, 
Bolivia,  and  Mexico. 


Apotheosis  my  blood,  hath  eternal  life"  (John  6:50,  54).  On  the  eve  of  the 

Apple  sacrifice  he  prayed  despairingly,  "O  my  Father,  if  it  be  possible,  let 

^^^^^^^^^^^      this  cup  pass  from  me;  nevertheless . . .  thy  will  be  done"  (Matthew 
26:39, 42).  At  least  the  Gospel  narrator  claims  Jesus  said  this. 

Naturally,  any  sacred  king's  guards  would  become  popularizers  of 
his  cult,  "dining  out"  on  the  divine  sayings  and  actions  for  years. 
However,  the  Gospels  were  not  written  by  the  apostles  whose  names 
they  bear.  They  were  forgeries,  compiled  long  after  Jesus's  time, 
some  as  late  as  the  middle  of  the  2nd  century.5  Even  this  is  scholarly 
guesswork,  since  no  authentic  manuscript  can  be  dated  before  the  4th 

Canonization  of  the  apostles  used  an  ancient  Buddhist  symbol,  the 
ushnisha  or  "flame  of  invisible  light"  appearing  on  top  of  their  heads. 
To  Buddhists,  this  flame  streaming  from  the  "lotus  center"  of  the  skull 
meant  super-intelligence.  It  appeared  over  the  heads  of  bodhisattvas.7 
The  same  phenomenon  appeared  over  the  heads  of  the  apostles  (Acts 
2:4).  The  rest  of  their  stories  were  as  mythical  as  those  of  the 
bodhisattvas.  Guignebert  says  "not  one  of  them  is  true. . . .  [Tjhere 
exists  no  information  really  worthy  of  credence  about  the  life  and 
work  of  the  immediate  Apostles  of  Jesus."8 

l.Frazer,G.B.,680.  2.  Neumann,  G.M.,  203-8.  3.  Briffault  2, 604. 
4.  Doane,  378.  5.  H.  Smith,  179,  182;  Stanton,  106.  6.  Pfeifer,  103. 
7.  Ross,  126.  8.  Guignebert,  61. 


"God-making,"  the  ritual  of  raising  a  slain  sacrificial  savior  to  heaven, 
to  become  a  constellation  among  the  stars  or  a  part  of  his  heavenly 
father.  It  became  a  custom  to  apotheosize  Roman  emperors  while 
they  were  still  living.  Most  other  ancient  kings  were  also  gods  on  earth. 
Their  surrogates,  the  "sacred  kings"  who  died  in  their  place,  were 
promised  immediate  godhood  after  death. 

Apotheosis  was  similarly  promised  Christian  martyrs  who  perished 
in  the  belief  that  they  would  be  wholly  assimilated  to  Christ  and 
would  sit  "on  the  right  hand  of  God"  like  him.  The  church's  ritual  of 
canonization  was  a  direct  copy  of  pagan  ceremonies  of  apotheosis. 
The  Roman  emperors'  souls  winging  to  heaven  as  eagles  contributed 
the  idea  of  releasing  white  doves  at  the  climax  of  the  church's 
canonization  ceremony.1  See  Drama. 



Eve's  fruit  of  knowledge  used  to  be  the  Goddess's  sacred  heart  of 
immortality,  all  over  the  Indo-European  culture  complex.  The  God- 
dess's many  western  paradises  grew  the  apples  of  eternal  life.  The 


Celts  called  the  western  paradise  Avalon,  "Apple-land,"  a  country  ruled  Apple 

by  Morgan,  the  queen  of  the  dead.  Irish  kings  received  the  Goddess's 

magic  apples  of  immortality  and  went  away  to  live  with  her  under  the  ^^^^^_^_^^ 

sunset.  King  Arthur  was  taken  to  Avalon  by  the  Triple  Goddess  in 

person,  as  three  fairy  queens. 

Scandinavians  thought  apples  essential  to  resurrection,  and  placed 
vessels  of  them  in  graves.1  The  Norse  Goddess  Idun  kept  the  magic 
apple-land  in  the  west,  where  the  gods  received  the  fruit  that  kept  them 
deathless.2  Apples  carried  souls  from  one  body  to  the  next.  Sigurd's 
or  Siegfried's  great-grandmother  conceived  by  eating  an  apple.3  The 
Yule  pig  was  roasted  with  an  apple  in  its  mouth,  to  serve  as  a  heart  in 
the  next  life  (see  Boar). 

Greeks  said  Mother  Hera  kept  the  magic  apple  garden  in  the  west, 
where  the  Tree  of  Life  was  guarded  by  her  sacred  serpent.  Graves 
points  out  that  the  whole  story  of  Eve,  Adam,  and  the  serpent  in  the 
tree  was  deliberately  misinterpreted  from  icons  showing  the  Great 
Goddess  offering  life  to  her  worshipper,  in  the  form  of  an  apple,  with 
the  tree  and  its  serpent  in  the  background.  Similarly,  Hellenes 
misinterpreted  icons  of  the  hero-victim  receiving  an  apple  from  the 
Triple  Goddess,  before  his  journey  to  paradise,  as  the  Judgment 
of  Paris:  a  picture  of  a  young  man  receiving  the  apple  from  three 
Goddesses,  not  vice  versa.4 

Romans  gave  the  apple-mother  the  name  of  Pomona,  which  was 
probably  inherited  from  the  Etruscans.  She  symbolized  all  fruition.  A 
Roman  banquet  always  progressed  ab  ovo  usque  mala,  from  eggs  to 
apples — beginning  with  the  symbol  of  creation  and  ending  with  the 
symbol  of  completion.  It  was  recorded  that  King  Herod  finished  every 
meal  in  the  Roman  style,  with  an  apple.5 

One  reason  for  the  extreme  reverence  paid  to  this  fruit  is  revealed 
by  cutting  it  transversely,  as  the  gypsies  and  witches  did.  Hidden  in 
the  apple's  core  was  the  magic  pentacle,  or  sign  of  Kore  (Core).  Just  as 
Kore  the  Virgin  was  hidden  in  the  heart  of  Mother  Earth  (Demeter) 
and  represented  the  World  Soul,  so  her  pentacle  was  hidden  in  the 

The  five-pointed  star  in  a  circle  was  the  Egyptian  hieroglyph  for 
the  underworld  womb,  where  resurrection  was  brought  about  by  the 
mother-heart  of  "transformations."6  In  Christian  iconography  also,  this 
apple-sign  represented  the  Virgin  concealed  within  the  Mother,  like 
Kore  within  Demeter.  (See  Anne,  Saint.) 

Among  gypsies,  "occult  couples"  carefully  cut  the  apple  to  reveal 
its  pentacle  and  ate  it  together  as  magical  nourishment  during  Tannic 
intercourse.7  A  gypsy  maiden  was  supposed  to  bring  about  her  partner  s 
mystic  union  with  the  soul  of  the  earth  through  her  own  body;  thus 
she  was  a  Shakti,  and  the  apple  was  her  sexual  symbol.  It  was  a  custom 
for  a  gypsy  girl  to  choose  her  lover  by  tossing  an  apple  at  him,  just  as 
Kali-Shakti  chose  Shiva  to  be  her  doomed  bridegroom.8 

In  Celtic  paganism  the  Goddess's  apple  similarly  signified  a  sacred 



Volsungs  Teutonic 
clan  of  demigods 
favored  by  Odin, 
who  used  a  magic  apple 
to  impregnate  the 
mother  of  the  original 
Volsung.  His 
descendant  Sigurd  is 
better  known  as 
Siegfried,  hero  of  the 
Germanic  Ring  of 
the  Nibelung. 

marriage  and  a  journey  to  the  land  of  death.  Queen  Guinevere,  who 
was  really  the  Triple  Goddess,  according  to  the  Welsh  Triads,  gave  a 
magic  apple  to  "the  Irish  knight  Sir  Patrice,"  actually  St.  Patrick, 
formerly  the  father-god  or  Pater.9  (See  Patrick,  Saint.)  The  Irish 
knight  died;  Guinevere  was  denounced  as  a  witch  and  condemned  to 
the  stake,  from  which  Lancelot  rescued  her.  Her  offense  was  choosing  a 
sacred  king  in  the  ancient  ceremonial  style.  Pre-Christian  legends 
show  that  each  king  who  ruled  Britain  had  to  be  chosen  by  the  Triple 
Goddess,  and  later  slain  by  her  Crone  form,  Morgan,  lady  of  the 
blood-red  pentacle  and  keeper  of  the  Apple-Isle  in  the  west.10 

Halloween  apple-games  descended  from  Celtic  feasts  of  Samhain, 
the  Feast  of  the  Dead  at  the  end  of  October.  Catching  at  apples 
suspended  from  strings,  or  bobbing  in  water,  may  have  invoked  hanged 
or  drowned  witches.  The  games  hinted  at  cheating  Death  in  the  form 
of  Cerridwen,  another  name  for  Morgan  as  a  Sow-goddess.  At  the  end 
of  the  game,  all  players  ran  away  "to  escape  from  the  black  short- 
tailed  sow."11 

Halloween  apples  were  also  used  for  divination,  as  if  they  were 
oracular  ghosts  called  up  from  the  underworld.  Such  magic  was 
especially  associated  with  women,  harking  back  to  the  pagan  tradition  of 
female  control  of  the  spirits  in  that  world.  The  Volsung  cycle  showed 
that  a  man  must  be  provided  with  "apples  of  Hel"  by  his  wife,  whose 
gift  had  the  power  to  preserve  him  when  he  died  and  descended 
under  the  earth.12  Thus,  Halloween  apples  were  often  linked  with 
marriage.  One  who  peeled  an  apple  before  a  candlelit  mirror  on 
Halloween  would  see  the  image  of  a  future  spouse.13 

Apple  blossoms  were  wedding  flowers  because  they  represented 
the  Virgin  form  of  the  Goddess  whose  maturity  produced  the  fruit. 
As  the  pagan  symbols  were  Christianized,  Apple-Eve-Mother-Goddess 
was  said  to  be  reborn  as  her  own  younger  aspect,  Rose-Mary- Virgin- 
Goddess:  the  five-petaled  rose  and  apple  blossom  often  mystically 
combined.  The  red  and  white  Alchemical  Rose  was  an  allegory  of  the 
Virgin  Mother.14  Some  mystics  said  Mary,  called  the  Holy  Rose, 
had  invented  alchemy.15 

However,  the  dangerous  aspect  of  apples  associated  with  the 
Goddess  as  Mother  Death  were  never  forgotten.  Since  she  was  not 
only  the  Virgin  and  the  Mother  but  also  Hel,  or  Hecate,  her  apples 
were  often  depicted  in  Christian  folklore  as  poisoned.  Churchmen 
declared  that  a  witch  could  cause  demonic  possession  through  her  gift  of 
an  apple  to  her  intended  victim.16  Old  women  were  slain  for  giving 
an  apple  to  a  child  or  other  person  who  later  became  afflicted  with  fits. 

l.Turville-Petre,  187.  2.  Hollander,  39.  3.  Turville-Petre,  200. 

4.  Graves,  G.M.  2, 145-46;  277.  5.  de  Voragine,  67. 

6.  Book  of  the  Dead,  454;  Budge,  E.L.,  75.  7.  Derlon,  1 57.  8.  Groome,  xlviii. 

9.  Malory  2,  274.  10.  Loomis,  342.  1 1 .  Hazlitt,  297. 

12.  H.R.E.  Davidson,  G.M.V.A.,  165.  13.  de  Lys,  365. 

14.  Campbell,  M.I.,  254.  15.  Ashe,  213.  16.  Haining,  70. 



Before  Islam  arrived  in  the  7th  century  a.d.,  Arabia  was  matriarchal 
for  over  a  thousand  years  of  recorded  history.  The  Annals  of  Ashurbani- 
pal  said  Arabia  was  governed  by  queens  for  as  long  as  anyone  could 
remember.1  The  land's  original  Allah  was  Al-Lat,  part  of  the  female 
trinity  along  with  Kore  or  Q're,  the  Virgin,  and  Al-Uzza,  the 
Powerful  One,  the  triad  known  as  Manat,  the  Threefold  Moon.2 

At  Mecca  the  Goddess  was  Shaybah  or  Sheba,  the  Old  Woman, 
worshipped  as  a  black  aniconic  stone  like  the  Goddess  of  the  Scyth- 
ian Amazons.3  The  same  Black  Stone  now  enshrined  in  the  Kaaba  at 
Mecca  was  her  feminine  symbol,  marked  by  the  sign  of  the  yoni,  and 
covered  like  the  ancient  Mother  by  a  veil.4  No  one  seems  to  know 
exactly  what  it  is  supposed  to  represent  today. 

The  Black  Stone  rests  in  the  Haram,  "Sanctuary,"  cognate  of 
"harem,"  which  used  to  mean  a  Temple  of  Women:  in  Babylon,  a 
shrine  of  the  Goddess  Har,  mother  of  harlots.5  Hereditary  guardians 
of  the  Haram  were  the  Koreshites,  "Children  of  Kore,"  Mohammed's 
own  tribe.6  The  holy  office  was  originally  held  by  women,  before  it  was 
taken  over  by  male  priests  calling  themselves  Beni  Shaybah,  "Sons  of 
the  Old  Woman."7 

Mohammed's  legends  clearly  gave  him  a  matriarchal  family 
background.  His  parents'  marriage  was  matrilocal.  His  mother  remained 
with  her  own  family  and  received  her  husband  as  an  occasional 
visitor.  Mohammed  lived  with  his  mother  until  her  death,  because  she 
was  his  true  parent  according  to  the  ancient  system;  "children 
belonged  to  the  woman's  family  . . .  paternity  in  the  biological  sense  was 
relatively  unimportant."8  She  may  well  have  been  one  of  the  "aged 
priestesses"  who  served  the  temple  in  Mecca.9  The  traditions  of  such 
priestesses  may  well  date  back  to  Assyro- Babylonian  um-mati  or 
"mothers,"  the  only  people  permitted  to  enter  the  Holy  of  Holies. 
Archaic  Arabian  shrines  were  usually  served  by  seven  high  priest- 
esses, recalling  the  lawgiving  Seven  Sages,  who  were  women.10  The 
first  collection  of  the  books  of  law  called  Koran — the  Word  of  Kore, 
or  Q're — was  attributed  to  them. 

Pre-Islamic  Arabia  was  dominated  by  the  female-centered  clans. 
Marriages  were  matrilocal,  inheritance  matrilineal.  Polyandry — 
several  husbands  to  one  wife — was  common.  Men  lived  in  their  wives' 
homes.  Divorce  was  initiated  by  the  wife.  If  she  turned  her  tent  to 
face  east  for  three  nights  in  a  row,  the  husband  was  dismissed  and  for- 
bidden to  enter  the  tent  again.11 

Doctrines  attributed  to  Mohammed  simply  reversed  the  ancient 
system  in  favor  of  men.  A  Moslem  husband  could  dismiss  his  wife  by 
saying  "I  divorce  thee"  three  times.  As  in  Europe,  the  change  from 
matriarchate  to  patriarchate  came  about  only  gradually  and  with 
much  strife. 


Annals  of 

Ashurbanipal  Assyrian 
royal  chronicles  on 
cuneiform  tablets, 
dating  from  the  7th 
century  B.C.,  found  in 
the  king's  famous 
library  at  Nineveh  by 

Seven  Sages  Legendary 
figures  in  both  Greek 
and  Arabian  lore, 
identified  with  a  variety 
of  seers  and 
philosophers,  the 
earliest  ones  usually 
female,  confused  with 
the  Seven  Sisters,  or 



Shi'ites  Minority  sect 
of  Islam,  tracing 
descent  of  a  sacred 
caliphate  from 
Mohammed's  daughter 
Fatima  and  her 
husband  'Ali.  One  line 
of  Shi'ites  established 
the  powerful  Fatimid 
caliphate,  now 
represented  by  the 
Khojas,  Bohras,  and 
the  Druze  of  Syria. 

Many  Koreshites  remained  faithful  to  the  Goddess  and  to  their 
queen,  Hind  al-Hunud:  the  Hind  of  Hinds,  similar  to  the  title  of 
Artemis.  She  was  also  called  Lady  of  Victory.  But  her  victories  came  to 
an  end  with  one  of  the  last  queens,  whose  husband  betrayed  her  and 
surrendered  her  city  of  Makkah  to  the  enemy. 

Legend  claims  the  step-daughter  of  the  divine  Hind  married 
Mohammed  himself.12  However,  the  history  of  early-medieval  Arabia 
is  nearly  all  legend.  Like  Buddha,  Confucius,  Jesus,  and  other  founders 
of  patriarchal  religions,  Mohammed  lacks  real  verification.  There  is 
no  reliable  information  about  his  life  or  teachings.  Most  stories  about 
him  are  as  apocryphal  as  the  story  that  his  coffin  hangs  forever  in 
mid-air  "between  heaven  and  earth,"  like  the  bodies  of  ancient  sacred 

With  or  without  Mohammed,  Islam  succeeded  in  becoming  com- 
pletely male-dominated,  making  no  place  for  women  except  in 
slavery  or  in  the  seclusion  of  the  harem.  Islamic  mosques  still  bear  signs 
reading:  "Women  and  dogs  and  other  impure  animals  are  not 
permitted  to  enter."  H 

Nevertheless,  traces  of  the  Goddess  proved  ineradicable.  Like  the 
virgin  Mary,  Arabia's  Queen  of  Heaven  received  a  mortal  form  and  a 
subordinate  position  as  Fatima,  Mohammed's  "daughter."  But  she  was 
no  real  daughter.  She  was  known  as  Mother  of  her  Father,  and 
Source  of  the  Sun:  "the  illumination  that  separates  Light  and  Darkness; 
the  Tree  of  Paradise;  the  Red  Cow  who  suckles  all  the  children  of  the 
earth;  Fate;  the  Night,  the  World;  the  Moon;  the  Pure  Essence  of 
Being." 15  Like  her  western  counterpart  Mary,  she  was  compared  to 
the  Burning  Bush,  and  the  Night  of  Power;  "she  personified  the  center 
of  the  genealogical  mystery." 16 

Fatima's  name  means  The  Creatress.  A  Shi'a  text,  Omm-al-Kitab, 
said  she  appeared  "at  the  creation  of  the  material  world,"  crowned, 
seated  on  a  throne,  holding  a  sword,  and  "ornamented  with  a  million 
varicolored  shimmering  lights"  which  illuminated  the  entire  garden  of 
Paradise.  She  was  the  first  to  occupy  the  Seat  of  Dominion,  "the 
resting  place  of  Allah,  the  Most  High." 17  Her  symbol  as  Holy  Virgin, 
the  crescent  moon,  still  appears  on  Islamic  flags.18  She  is  called  Al- 
Zahra,  "Bright-Blooming,"  a  former  title  of  the  Great  Mother.  It  is 
said  the  symbol  of  her  hand,  surmounting  the  solar  disc,  "represents  the 
whole  religion  of  Islam." 19 

Within  Islam,  deviant  sects  like  Shi'ites  or  Sufis  carried  on  Tantric 
worship  of  the  female  principle,  maintaining  that  the  feminine 
powers  of  sexuality  and  maternity  were  the  powers  that  held  the 
universe  together.20  The  greatest  medieval  poet  of  Sufism,  Ibn  al- 
Farid,  was  known  as  "the  sultan  of  lovers."21  He  said  true  divinity  was 
female,  and  Mecca  was  the  womb  of  the  earth.  As  woman-worship- 
ping minstrels  of  medieval  Europe  were  attacked  for  their  devotion  to  the 
Goddess  of  Love,  so  the  Sufis  were  attacked  for  their  "voluptuous 


libertinism."  Ibn  El-Arabi,  the  "greatest  master"  of  Sufi  mystics,  was  Arabia 

accused  of  blasphemy  because  he  said  the  godhead  is  female.22 

Shi'ites  split  off  from  orthodox  Islam  and  claimed  to  follow  a  purer       ___^_^_^_ 
line  of  imams  directly  descended  from  the  Fatimids.  In  the  1 1th 
century  they  united  under  Hasan  ibn  al-Sabbah,  i.e.,  Hasan  ben- 
Shaybah,  another  "son  of  the  Matriarch."  Hasan  seized  the  fortress 
of  Alamut  and  made  it  the  headquarters  of  a  brotherhood  of  warriors, 
the  hashishim  or  "Assassins"  (see  Aladdin).  The  fortress  fell  to  the 
concerted  attacks  of  Mongols  and  Mamelukes  in  1256,  after  having 
waged  war  on  Turks  and  Christian  crusaders  alike  for  more  than  a 

Still  the  Shi'ite  sect  survived  to  the  present,  awaiting  the  coming  of 
the  Virgin  named  Paradise  (Pairidaeza),  who  will  give  birth  to  the 
Mahdi,  the  "moon-guided"  Redeemer,  whose  title  in  Europe  was  the 
Desired  Knight.24 

One  of  the  hidden  secrets  of  medieval  bardic  romance  is  the 
Arabian  origin  of  the  Waste  Land  motif,  most  prominent  in  the  Holy 
Grail  cycle  of  tales.  Despite  monkish  efforts  to  convert  it  into  a 
Christian  chalice,  the  Grail  was  generally  recognized  as  a  female 
symbol,  whose  loss  implied  fear  for  the  fertility  of  the  earth.  Crusad- 
ers had  seen  for  themselves  the  desolation  of  Arabia  Deserta,  one  of  the 
most  lifeless  regions  on  earth.  They  heard  the  Shi'ite  heretics' 
explanation  for  it:  Islam  had  offended  the  Great  Goddess,  and  she 
had  cursed  the  land  and  departed.  Now  nothing  would  grow  there. 

Western  mystics  thought  the  same  calamity  would  strike  Europe 
if  the  spirit  of  the  Mother  were  not  brought  back  from  the  limbo  to 
which  the  Christian  church  consigned  her.  This  may  have  been  a 
reason  for  the  frenzy  of  cathedral-building  in  honor  of  "Our  Lady,"  the 
Queen  of  Heaven,  during  the  12th  and  13th  centuries.  The  Waste 
Land  theme  haunted  the  collective  psyche  of  the  early  Renaissance  with 
a  threat  of  conditions  actually  realized  in  the  land  of  the  infidel. 

Traces  of  the  matriarchate  survived  to  the  present  among  some  of 
the  Arabs  of  North  Africa,  ancient  home  of  "Libyan  Amazons."25 
Targi  and  Tuareg  Berber  women  remained  free  of  many  sexual 
restrictions.  Virginity  was  not  prized.  On  remarriage,  a  woman  could 
command  twice  the  bride-price  of  a  young  virgin.  Men  of  the 
Walad  'Abdi  tribe  insisted  the  success  of  their  crops  depended  on  the 
sexual  freedom  of  their  women,  whom  the  French  labeled  common 
prostitutes.  Hassanyeh  Arabs  of  the  White  Nile  allowed  wives  to  be 
unfaithful  on  certain  days  of  the  week,  according  to  the  marriage 
contract  drawn  up  by  the  bride's  mother— who  took  pride  in  preserving 
her  daughter's  sexual  liberties.27  Most  of  Islam,  however,  restricted 
women  as  much  as  possible.  Many  Islamic  theologians  said  women 
couldn't  enter  paradise,  and  must  not  receive  religious  instruction 
because  it  might  bring  them  "too  near  their  masters."28 

l.Assyr.  &  Bab.  Lit,  120.  2.  de  Riencourt,  193.  3.  Sobol,  55.  4.  Harding,  41. 


Arachne  5.  Pritchard,  S.S.,  95.  6.  Shah,  390.  7.  Briffault  3,  80.  8.  de  Riencourt,  188. 

_  .  9.  Briffault  3,  80.  10.  Briffault  1,  377.  1 1 .  de  Riencourt,  1 87-89. 

Ardhanansvara  12.  Beard,  pp.  293-94.  13.  de  Camp,  A.E.,  153.  14.  Farb,  W.P.,  144. 

15.  Lederer,  181.  16.  Campbell,  Oc.M.,  446.  17.  Campbell,  Oc.M.,  445-46. 

^^^■■■■^^^^  18.  Briffault  2, 630.  19.  Budge,  A.T.,  469.  20.  Bullough,  1 50. 

21.  Encyc.  Brit.,  "Sufism."  22.  Shah,  263,  319.  23.  Encyc.  Brit,  "Assassins." 
24.  Lederer,  181.  25.  Wendt,  52.  26.  Briffault  1, 286;  3, 200,  314. 
27.  Hartley,  166.  28.  Crawley  1,  58. 


"Spider"  or  "Spinner,"  title  and  totem  of  Athene  the  Fate-weaver. 
Man's  helplessness  in  the  web  of  Fate  was  symbolized  by  the  helpless- 
ness of  the  fly  in  the  spider's  web.  The  fly  was  a  common  archaic 
symbol  of  the  human  soul,  even  thought  to  be  the  actual  embodiment 
of  the  soul  in  passage  from  one  life  to  the  next;  thus  divine 
psychopomps  like  Baal-Zebub  (Beelzebub)  were  called  "Lord  of 
Flies"  because  they  conducted  souls.1 

Classical  writers  misinterpreted  old  images  of  Athene  with  her 
spider-totem  and  web,  and  constructed  the  legend  of  Arachne,  a 
mortal  maid  whose  skill  in  weaving  outshone  even  that  of  the  Goddess. 
Therefore  Athene  turned  her  into  a  spider.2 

1.  Spence,  95-96.  2.  Graves,  CM.  1, 98. 


Medieval  name  for  the  Queen  of  Witches,  called  a  daughter  of  the 
Goddess  Diana.  The  name  may  have  been  a  corruption  of  Herodias. 
She  represented  the  moon,  and  her  brother  Lucifer  the  Light-bringer 
represented  the  sun.1 
1.  B.Butler,  215. 


Iranian  Earth-goddess,  ancestress  of  the  Aramaeans,  whose  language 
was  the  original  language  of  the  Gospels.  Ara-ma-iti  seems  to  have 
meant  "mother  of  the  people  made  of  clay." 


Bisexual  image  of  the  merging  of  Kali  Ma  and  Shiva:  a  body  female 
on  the  left  side,  male  on  the  right  side.1  Other  gods  followed  the  same 
two-sexed  pattern.  Sometimes  the  deity  was  two-headed  and  four- 
armed,  though  known  as  "the  One."  See  Androgyne;  Left  Hand. 

1.  Larousse,  371. 



Ariadne  Ariadne 

"Most  Holy"  or  "High  Fruitful  Mother,"  the  younger  form  of  the  Arianism 

Cretan  Moon-goddess,  worshipped  at  Amathus  as  a  consort  of  hh^^^ 

Dionysus.1  Hellenic  myth  disparaged  her  and  made  her  a  mere  mortal 

maiden  who  helped  Theseus  survive  the  Cretan  Labyrinth,  ran  away 

with  him,  and  was  abandoned  when  he  wearied  of  her.  However,  her 

subsequent  mating  with  the  god  showed  that  she  was  the  rightful 

bride  of  gods  to  begin  with.2 

1.  Graves,  W.G.,  93.  2.  Graves,  CM.  1, 347;  2, 381. 


Archaic  name  of  Iran  and  its  Great  Goddess,  sometimes  rendered 


Early  Christian  heresy  founded  by  Arius  in  the  4th  century  a.d.  The 
basic  tenet  of  Arianism  was  that  God  was  not  a  trinity  but  a  unit  or 

Orphics  and  other  mystery-cultists  of  the  early  Christian  era 
maintained  the  classic  trinitarian  pattern  laid  down  thousands  of  years 
before  by  the  Triple  Goddess.  They  said:  "All  things  are  made  by  one 
godhead  in  three  names,  and  this  god  is  all  things."  From  the 
mystery-cults,  some  Christians  picked  up  the  idea  that  their  deity  too 
should  be  a  trinity.  Other  Christians  objected,  saying  their  deity  must 
be  a  monad  like  the  Jewish  Jehovah.  St.  Augustine  found  the  notion  of  a 
trinity  incomprehensible.  He  scoffed  at  his  pagan  neighbors  for 
calling  their  Great  Goddess  three  persons  and  one  person  at  the  same 

Neither  the  Old  nor  the  New  Testament  mentioned  a  triune  God, 
so  early  Pauline  Christians  worshipped  God  as  one  individual.  How- 
ever, this  monotheistic  idea  was  abandoned  at  the  4th-century  Council 
of  Nicaea.  Arian  Christians,  clinging  to  the  Hebraic  belief  in  an 
undivided  God,  suddenly  found  themselves  labeled  heretics.  In  increas- 
ingly acrimonious  battles,  partisans  of  one  viewpoint  or  the  other 
engaged  in  street  fighting  with  stones  and  clubs,  bloodying  their  oppo- 
nents to  prove  the  nature  of  their  deity.2 

Arius's  objections  to  the  Holy  Trinity  were  basically  logical.  He 
insisted  that  a  divine  son  couldn't  have  co-existed  eternally  with  his 
own  divine  father.  There  must  have  been  a  time  when  the  father  existed 
alone,  before  bringing  the  son  into  being.  But  Arius's  opponents 
wanted  to  be  assured  that,  in  assimilating  the  body  and  blood  of  Christ 
in  communion,  they  partook  of  an  infinite  divinity  who  had  existed 


Arianrhod  from  the  beginning  of  time.  Otherwise  they  might  be  robbed  of  immor- 

tality, through  unwise  identification  with  a  lesser,  finite  power. 
^^^^^^^^^^^      Therefore  they  insisted  that  Christ  and  God  were  one  and  the  same. 

Besides,  pagan  traditions  universally  supported  the  notion  that 
divine  fathers  and  sons  were  identical  with  each  other,  cyclically 
alternating  and  united  through  the  Mother.  Proponents  of  the  trinitar- 
ian  theory  borrowed  myths  and  symbols  from  the  pagans,  and  said 
when  the  Magi  saw  the  star  in  the  east  announcing  Christ's  birth,  three 
suns  appeared  in  the  sky  and  fused  into  one.3 

The  emperor  Constantine  I  at  first  defended  Arius,  because  he 
liked  the  idea  of  a  single  supreme  deity  whom  he  might  identify  with 
himself.  He  also  disliked  the  Christians'  incessant  sectarian  strife.  He 
wrote  to  Bishop  Alexander:  "I  am  sending  to  you,  not  simply  suggest- 
ing, but  imploring  that  you  will  take  these  men  (the  Arians)  back  . . . 
that  there  is  peace  and  concord  among  you  all."4  This  was  ignored. 

The  Council  decided  that  God,  Christ,  and  the  Holy  Ghost  were 
one  and  the  same,  forever  co-existent,  equally  potent.  Arius  was 
anathematized  and  driven  into  exile.  At  last  he  succumbed  to  a  dose  of 
poison,  apparently  administered  by  one  of  his  trinitarian  opponents.5 
But  the  battle  was  not  over.  The  Arian  controversy  dragged  on  for 
many  centuries,  and  spilled  much  blood,  as  theological  arguments 
were  wont  to  do  in  those  days. 

After  360  a.d.,  Arianism  was  carried  by  missionaries  to  the  Ger- 
manic tribes,  whose  Christianity  remained  a  vaguely  Arian  semi- 
paganism  up  to  the  time  of  Charlemagne  and  beyond.6  Arianism  came 
to  the  surface  again  in  Hungary  and  Transylvania  during  the  16th 
century.  Christian  writers  then  denied  the  trinity  altogether,  starting  a 
movement  that  led  ultimately  to  the  foundation  of  Unitarian  churches.7 

l.Briffault3,90.  2.  de  Camp,  A.E.,  282.  Voragine,49. 

4.  J.H.  Smith,  C.G.,  242.  5.  Gibbon  1, 694.  6.  Encyc.  Brit,  "Arianism." 

7.  Encyc.  Brit,  "Unitarianism." 


Goddess  mother  of  Celtic  "Aryans,"  keeper  of  the  endlessly  circling 
Silver  Wheel  of  the  Stars,  symbol  of  Time,  the  same  as  Kali's  kar- 
mic  wheel.  Some  gave  the  Goddess  herself  the  title  of  "Silver  Wheel 
That  Descends  into  the  Sea." l 

Arianrhod's  wheel  was  also  the  Wheel  of  Light,  Wheel  of  Fal,  or 
Oar  Wheel.  It  was  often  likened  to  a  vast  ship  carrying  dead  warriors 
to  the  Moon-land,  called  Magonia  or  Emania  or  Hy-Many.  The  wheel 
was  made  by  "three  druidesses" — that  is,  the  Triple  Goddess,  who 
created  the  cosmic  wheel  of  the  zodiac  or  the  Milky  Way.2  Arianrhod 
seems  to  have  been  the  same  Goddess  as  Ariadne,  another  version 
of  the  "mother  of  Aryans."3 

I.  Briffault  3,  71.  2.  Spence,  65,  152-53.  3.  Graves,  W.G.,  93. 



-littite  name  of  the  Great  Goddess  as  "Mother  of  the  Sun."  In 
Mesopotamia  and  Egypt,  the  sun  god  was  generally  considered  a  child 
)f  the  moon-,  earth-,  sea-,  or  heaven-goddess. 


Vrk  of  the  Covenant 

)n  its  earliest  appearances  in  the  Bible,  the  ark  of  the  covenant  was  so 
acer  (taboo,  dangerous)  that  it  would  kill  at  a  touch.  While  it  was 
eing  transported  on  an  oxcart,  it  teetered  "because  the  oxen  shook 
:"  and  would  have  fallen,  had  not  Uzzah  "put  forth  his  hand  to  the  ark 
if  God,  and  took  hold  of  it"  (2  Samuel  6:3).  In  spite  of  Uzzah's  good 
itentions,  God  instantly  struck  him  dead  for  daring  to  touch  the 
loly  object. 

Again,  when  the  ark  returned  from  Philistia,  God  perpetrated  an 
xtraordinary  slaughter  of  50,070  well-intentioned  people  for  daring 
3  look  inside  the  ark  in  their  joy:  "And  he  smote  the  men  of 
lethshemesh,  because  they  had  looked  into  the  ark  of  the  Lord,  even 
e  smote  of  tlfe  people  fifty  thousand  and  threescore  and  ten  men:  and 
le  people  lamented,  because  the  Lord  had  smitten  many  of  the 
eople  with  a  great  slaughter"  (1  Samuel  6:19). 

Even  priests  feared  the  power  of  the  ark,  and  resorted  to  ritual 
/ashing  before  approaching  it,  "that  they  die  not"  (Exodus  30:20). 
Vater  was  a  common  prophylactic  charm  against  the  destructive  power 
f  holy  things.  Philon  of  Byzantium  said  all  the  "ancients"  used  water 
)r  ritual  purification  before  entering  temples;  they  also  spun  prayer- 
'heels  made  of  Aphrodite's  sacred  metal,  copper.1 

For  some  reason  God  lost  interest  in  his  ark  by  Jeremiah's  time: 
Saith  the  Lord,  they  shall  say  no  more,  the  ark  of  the  covenant  of 
le  Lord:  neither  shall  it  come  to  mind:  neither  shall  they  remember  it; 
either  shall  it  be  magnified  any  more"  (Jeremiah  3:16). 

The  probable  cause  of  God's  change  of  heart  was  a  reform 
lovement  to  purge  the  temple  of  sexual  symbols.  The  arks  or  cistae  of 
le  Greeks  and  Syrians  held  emblems  of  the  lingam-yoni,  such  as  eggs 
nd  serpents,  clay  or  dough  models  of  genitalia.  Rabbinical  tradition 
lid  the  ark  contained  a  hexagram  representing  the  sexual  union  of  God 
nd  Goddess,  the  same  meaning  given  to  the  hexagram  in  India.2 
'hus  the  ark  was  a  female  container  for  a  male  god.  Mary,  God's 
Dnsort  in  her  later  form,  often  received  the  title  of  "Ark." 

Semitic  Arek,  "ark,"  descended  from  Hindu  Argha,  "great  ship," 
letaphorically  the  Great  Yoni:  a  female-sexual  vessel  bearing  seeds 
f  life  through  the  sea  of  chaos  between  destruction  of  one  cosmos  and 
reation  of  the  next.3  From  the  same  root  came  "arcane,"  literally  a 
ark  or  crescent  phase  of  the  moon.  The  crescent  moon  boat  symbol- 
ed  the  Goddess's  spirit  dancing  on  her  primordial  uterine  Ocean  of 

var.  Arinniti 


Armathr  Blood,  whose  "clots"  would  form  the  lands  and  creatures  of  a  new 

Artemis  universe.  Noah's  version  of  the  Argha  came  to  Palestine  via  Sumeria 

^^^^^^^^^^—     and  Babylon  (see  Flood),  but  was  intensively  re-interpreted  by  Jewish 
patriarchs  anxious  to  eliminate  the  female  principle. 

1.  de  Camp,  A.E.,  122.  2.  Silberer,  197.  3.  Jobes,  121. 


"Mother  of  Prosperity,"  the  Goddess  incarnate  in  a  sacred  stone 
revered  by  Icelandic  chieftains,  who  ignored  Christianity  until  the  1 1th 
or  12th  century  a.d.1  Remote  Iceland  was  among  the  last  areas  to  be 
Christianized;  therefore  the  pagan  sagas  (Eddas)  and  other  literature 
survived  the  fires  of  censorship. 


Artemidos,  Saint 

Fictitious  Christian  saint  based  on  a  votive  idol  of  the  Goddess 
Artemis.1  In  some  traditions  she  remained  female,  but  in  others  she  lost 
even  her  femininity  and  was  described  as  a  holy  man. 

1.  H.Smith,  227. 


Amazonian  Moon-goddess,  worshipped  at  Ephesus  under  the  Latin 
name  of  Diana  or  "Goddess-Anna."  Like  the  Hindu  Goddess  Saranyu 
who  gave  birth  to  all  animals,  she  was  called  Mother  of  Creatures. 
Her  image  at  Ephesus  had  a  whole  torso  covered  with  breasts,  to  show 
that  she  nurtured  all  living  things.  Yet  she  was  also  the  Huntress, 
killer  of  the  very  creatures  she  brought  forth.1  In  Sparta  her  name  was 
given  as  Artamis,  "Cutter,"  or  "Butcher."2 

Artemis's  myths  extend  back  to  Neolithic  sacrificial  customs.  At 
Taurus  her  holy  women,  under  their  high  priestess  Iphigeneia, 
sacrificed  all  men  who  landed  on  their  shores,  nailing  the  head  of  each 
victim  to  a  cross.3  At  Hierapolis,  the  Goddess's  victims  were  hung  on 
artificial  trees  in  her  temple.  In  Attica,  Artemis  was  ritually  propitiated 
with  drops  of  blood  drawn  from  a  man's  neck  by  a  sword,  a  symbolic 
remnant  of  former  beheadings.  Human  victims  were  later  replaced  by 
bulls,  hence  the  Goddess's  title  Tauropolos,  "bull-slayer."4 

Her  Huntress  aspect  was  another  form  of  the  destroying  Crone  or 
waning  moon.  Like  Hecate,  she  led  the  nocturnal  hunt;  her  pries- 
tesses wore  the  masks  of  hunting  dogs.  Alani,  "hunting  dogs,"  was  the 
Greek  name  for  Scythians  who  revered  Artemis.  The  mythological 
hunting  dogs  who  tore  the  Horned  God  Actaeon  to  pieces  were  really 
Artemis's  sacred  bitches. 

Classic  mythographers  pretended  that  Actaeon  committed  the  sin 
of  seeing  the  chaste  virgin  Goddess  in  her  bath,  and  she  condemned 


him  out  of  offended  modesty.  Actually,  the  bath,  the  nakedness,  and  the 
tearing  to  pieces  of  the  sacred  king  were  all  part  of  the  drama.  In 
barbarian  Germany,  the  Goddess's  ritual  bath  could  be  witnessed  only 
by  "men  doomed  to  die." 5  Actaeon's  deerskin  and  antlers  marked 
him  as  the  pre-Hellenic  stag  king,  reigning  over  the  sacred  hunt  for  half 
a  Great  Year  before  he  was  torn  to  pieces  and  replaced  by  his  tanist 
(co-king).  In  the  first  century  a.d.,  Artemis's  priestesses  still  pursued  and 
killed  a  man  dressed  as  a  stag  on  the  Goddess's  mountain.6  Her 
groves  became  the  "deer-gardens"  (German  Tiergarten,  Swedish  Djur- 
garden),  once  the  scene  of  venison  feasts. 

One  of  Artemis's  most  popular  animal  incarnations  was  the  Great 
She-Bear,  Ursa  Major,  ruler  of  the  stars  and  protectress  of  the  axis 
mundi,  Pole  of  the  World,  marked  in  heaven  by  the  Pole  Star  at  the 
center  of  the  small  circle  described  by  the  constellation  Ursa  Major. 
Helvetian  tribes  in  the  neighborhood  of  Berne  worshipped  her  as  the 
She-Bear,  which  is  still  the  heraldic  symbol  of  Berne.  The  city's  very 
name  means  "She-Bear."7  Sometimes  the  Helvetians  called  her  Artio, 
shortened  to  Art  by  Celtic  peoples  who  coupled  her  with  the  bear- 
king  Arthur.  As  Artio's  Lord  of  the  Hunt,  the  medieval  god  of  witches 
came  to  be  known  as  "Robin  son  of  Art."  According  to  the  Irish,  Art 
meant  "God,"  but  its  earlier  connotation  was  "Goddess" — specifically 
the  Bear-Goddess.8  She  was  also  canonized  as  a  Christian  saint, 
Ursula,  derived  from  her  Saxon  name  of  Ursel,  the  She-Bear. 

There  was  a  rather  sophisticated  astronomical  reason  for  worship- 
ping the  heavenly  She-Bear  who  followed  her  track  around  the  Pole 
Star,  year  by  year.  It  was  probably  discovered  first  in  the  far  east.  "The 
months  and  seasons  are  determined  by  the  revolution  of  Ursa  Major. 
The  tail  of  the  constellation  pointing  to  the  east  at  nightfall  announces 
the  arrival  of  spring,  pointing  to  the  south  the  arrival  of  summer, 
pointing  to  the  west  the  arrival  of  autumn,  and  pointing  to  the  north  the 
arrival  of  winter. . . .  The  Great  Bear  occupies  a  prominent  position 
in  the  Taoist  heavens  as  the  aerial  throne  of  the  supreme  deity."  This 
deity  in  Taoist  tradition  is  the  Queen  of  Heaven,  Holy  Mother  Ma 
Tsu  P'o,  with  characteristics  similar  to  those  of  Artemis.  She  protects 
seafarers  and  governs  the  weather;  she  is  called  a  virgin,  and  Matron 
of  the  Measure;  she  is  a  Mother  of  Mercy  who  has  been  compared  to 
the  virgin  Mary  and  to  the  Buddhist  Goddess  Maritchi.9 

The  axis  mundi  was  often  associated  with  male  gods,  as  either  a 
Great  Serpent  or  a  World  Tree  more  or  less  recognized  as  a  phallic 
symbol.  Similarly  the  Little  Bear  within  the  circle  of  the  Great  Bear  was 
pictured  by  the  Greeks  as  Areas,  her  son  (see  Callisto).  Yet  among 
the  oldest  traditions  may  be  found  hints  that  this  world-supporting  tree 
or  pole  was  female.  Even  as  Yggdrasil,  the  World  Tree  of  the 
Vikings,  it  showed  many  parallels  with  birth-giving,  fruit-  or  milk- 
producing  mother  trees  of  the  Near  East,  under  its  older  name  of 
Mjotvidr  or  Mutvidr,  "Mother-Tree."  Sometimes  it  was  Mead-Tree, 
like  "the  milk-giving  tree  of  the  Finno-Ugric  peoples,  a  symbol  which 
must  go  back  ultimately  to  Mesopotamia,  and  be  of  great  antiquity."  It 


Ursa  Major  "Great 
Bear,"  colloquially 
called  the  Big 
Dipper,  a  circumpolar 
constellation  with 
seven  bright  stars 
including  the  "north 
pole  pointers."  For  a 
brief  time  the 
constellation  was 
renamed  Charles's 
Wain,  after  the  chariot 
of  Charlemagne. 



Tatian  2nd-century 
Christian  apologist  of 
Greek  education  and 
Gnostic  leanings.  His 
doctrine  absolutely 
forbade  marriage  for  all 

St.  John  Chrysostom, 

John,"  4th-century 
Christian  orator  who 
served  as  Patriarch  of 
Constantinople  until  he 
incurred  the  wrath  of 
the  empress  Eudoxia, 
who  arranged  to 
have  him  deposed  and 

was  said  that  "the  tree  is  the  source  of  unborn  souls,"  which  would 
give  birth  to  the  new  primal  woman,  Life  (Lif)  in  the  new  universe  after 
the  present  cycle  came  to  an  end.  Its  fruit  could  be  given  to  women 
in  childbirth  "that  what  is  within  may  pass  out."  The  spring  at  the  tree's 
root  was  a  fountain  of  wisdom  or  of  the  life-giving  fluid  aurr,  which 
may  be  likened  to  the  "wise  blood"  of  the  Mother — that  much- 
mythologized  feminine  life-source  likened  to  the  Kula  nectar  in  the 
uterine  spring  of  Kundalini,  as  if  the  maternal  tree  upholding  the 
universe  were  the  Mother's  spine  with  its  many  chakras.10  See 
Menstrual  Blood. 

"Many-breasted"  Artemis  was  always  a  patroness  of  nurture, 
fertility,  and  birth.  Male  gods  turned  against  these  attributes  in 
opposing  the  cult  of  the  Goddess.  Her  own  twin  brother  and  sometime 
consort  Apollo  made  birth  illegal  on  his  sacred  isle  of  Delos; 
pregnant  women  had  to  be  removed  from  the  island  lest  they  offend  the 
god  by  giving  birth  there.11  Christians  continued  to  vilify  Artemis. 
Tatian  said,  "Artemis  is  a  poisoner;  Apollo  performs  cures." 12  The 
Gospels  demanded  destruction  of  Artemis's  Ephesian  temple  (Acts 
19:27).  St.  John  Chrysostom  preached  against  this  temple  in  406  a.d. 
Soon  afterward,  it  was  looted  and  burned.  The  patriarch  of  Constan- 
tinople praised  Chrysostom's  zeal:  "In  Ephesus  he  stripped  the  treasury 
of  Artemis;  in  Phrygia,  he  left  without  sons  her  whom  they  called  the 
Mother  of  the  Gods." 13  See  Diana. 

1.  Neumann,  G.M.,  276  (pi.  35).  2.  Graves,  G.M.  1,  86.  3.  Herodotus,  244. 

4.  Graves,  G.M.  1,  86;  2,  79.  5.  Tacitus,  728.  6.  Graves,  G.  M.  1,  85. 

7  Urousst,  226.  8.  Joyce  1,  249.  9.  Williams,  30,  336-38,  371-73. 

10.  H.R.E.  Davidson,  G.M.V.A.,  195.  11.  Halliday,  29.  12.  Graves,  W.G.,  433. 

13.  J.H.  Smith,  D.C.P.,  175. 


Sanskrit  "Riches"  or  "Abundance,"  root  of  Indo-European  names 
for  Mother  Earth:  Ertha,  Hretha,  Eortha,  etc.  The  Earth  Mother  Frigg 
(Freya)  also  bore  a  name  meaning  Wealth;  so  did  Rhea-Pluto,  Ops 
Opulentia,  and  Terra  Mater.  See  Earth. 


King  Arthur  was  the  Welsh  Arth  Vawr,  Heavenly  Bear.  His  prede- 
cessor or  "father"  was  Uther  Pendragon,  "Wonderful  Head  of  the 
Dragon."1  Where  did  the  dragon's  head  precede  the  bear?  At  the 
hub  of  the  heavens,  which  the  ancients  always  anxiously  watched. 

In  the  3rd  millenium  b.c,  the  north  pole  star  was  not  the  present 
Polaris  in  Ursa  Minor,  the  Little  Bear.  It  was  Alpha  Draconis,  the 
Head  of  the  Dragon.2  Due  to  precession  of  the  equinoxes,  a  slow  subtle 
shift  of  the  celestial  pole  took  place  over  the  course  of  5000  years. 
However  difficult  it  may  have  been  to  observe,  the  ancients  seem  to 


have  known  about  it.  India  as  well  as  Britain  placed  the  former  north 
pole  in  the  constellation  of  the  Dragon.  The  Mahabharata  said  the  pole 
star,  to  which  "the  yoke  of  the  world"  was  fixed,  was  the  head  of  the 
Great  Serpent.3 

Greeks  said  the  little  bear-god  who  replaced  the  serpent  was  Areas, 
ancestor  of  the  Arcadians.  His  mother  was  Artemis  Calliste,  the 
Great  She-Bear  who  used  to  rule  all  the  stars.4  As  Ursa  Major,  she  still 
circles  the  pole.  Western  Europeans  called  her  Artio,  Art,  Ursel,  or 
Ercel.5  Arthur  was  a  Celtic  version  of  her  son,  spouse,  sacred  king. 

Arthur  was  another  humanization  of  an  old  pagan  god — apparent- 
ly very  old,  for  he  had  no  credible  human  parentage  but  rather  many 
contradictory  miraculous-birth  myths.  Some  said  he  had  no  father.  Like 
the  Norse  god  Heimdall  and  the  Saxon  hero  Scyld,  he  was  born  of 
the  Ninefold  Sea-goddess  and  cast  ashore  on  the  ninth  wave,  to  land  at 
Merlin's  feet.6  Bulfinch's  Mythology  said  Arthur's  father  was  Ambro- 
sius,  an  earlier  name  for  Merlin. 

The  story  of  Uther  Pendragon's  fatherhood  of  Arthur  bears  marks 
of  strained  revision.  Arthur's  royal  mother  was  married  to  Uther's 
rival  at  the  time.  Uther  was  far  away,  but  with  Merlin's  help  he  sent  his 
spirit  to  her  in  the  guise  of  her  husband,  while  the  latter  was  being 
killed.  Arthur  was  begotten  at  the  instant  his  official  father  died.  He  was 
taken  away  by  Merlin  to  be  raised  in  a  secret  place  until  he  came  of 
age — the  cliche  secret  upbringing  of  every  sacred  king's  career. 

Arthur's  mother  was  really  the  Triple  Goddess,  incarnate  in  the 
queen  as  usual.  Her  three  daughters  represented  herself  in  triad: 
Elaine,  the  virgin  Lily  Maid;  Margawse,  mother  of  the  four  Aeons; 
Morgan,  Queen  of  the  Shades.  Arthur  later  coupled  with  his  sister 
Margawse  and  incestuously  begot  his  own  son-nephew-supplanter, 
Mordred,  who  was  likewise  taken  away  at  birth  to  be  raised  in  hiding. 

As  Galahad  was  the  reincarnated  Lancelot,  so  Mordred  was  the 
reincarnated  Arthur,  destined  to  succeed  him  by  both  matrilineal  and 
patrilineal  right,  as  both  sister's-son  and  son.  Like  all  kings  threatened  by 
the  Oedipal  rival,  Arthur  tried  to  kill  Mordred  by  a  Slaughter  of  the 
Innocents.  He  collected  all  the  children  born  on  May  Day,  the  birthday 
of  his  prophesied  supplanter,  put  them  on  a  ship,  and  sent  them  out 
to  sea  to  be  wrecked.  Of  course  Mordred  survived  the  wreck  and  grew 
up  to  return  incognito  to  Arthur's  court.8 

Arthur  lost  his  sacred  mana  when  he  lost  his  queen,  the  Triple 
Goddess  incarnate  in  Guinevere,  who  was  really  three  Guineveres 
according  to  the  Welsh  Triads.9  Mordred  seized  her,  thus  symbolically 
seizing  the  kingdom,  and  brought  Arthur  to  his  death. 

When  Arthur  died,  the  same  Triple  Goddess  took  him  back  into 
the  sea  that  gave  him  birth.  "Three  fairy  queens"  carried  him  away  to 
the  western  isles  of  paradise,  singing  his  death-song,  the  kind  of  song 
Welsh  bards  called  marwysgafen— giving-back-to-the-sea-mother.10 
The  three  fairy  queens  were  really  the  final  triad  of  the  Ninefold 
Goddess,  Morgan  le  Fay  and  two  of  her  alter  egos:  the  Queen  of 



Indian  epic  poem, 
consisting  of  historical 
and  legendary 
material  gathered 
between  the  4th  and 
10th  centuries  a.d., 
including  the  famous 

Welsh  Triads 

Poetic  literature  of  pre- 
Christian  Wales,  drawn 
from  the  bards'  oral 

Ninefold  Goddess 

The  triple  trinity,  as 
exemplified  by  the 
Nine  Muses  of  Greece, 
the  Nine  Sisters  of 
Scandinavia,  the  Nine 
Morgans  of  the 
Fortunate  Isles,  etc. 




British  branch  of  Celts, 
including  speakers  of 
the  Welsh,  Cornish, 
and  Breton 

Northgallis  (i.e.,  North  Gaul,  or  Brittany),  and  the  Queen  of  the 
Westerlands,  which  meant  the  isles  of  the  dead.11  These  isles  were 
said  to  be  ruled  by  nine  fairy  sisters,  the  leader  of  whom  was  Morgan. 

Arthur's  legends  generally  suggest  no  human  king,  but  a  Brythonic 
god,  whom  Johnson  called  a  Celtic  Zeus.12  He  may  have  been 
incarnate  in  one  or  several  warrior  kings  for  brief  periods,  but  his  basic 
story  was  mythic  rather  than  historical. 

1.  Hitching,  242.  2.  Encyc.  Brit,  "Precession  of  the  Equinoxes." 
3. O'Flaherty,  274,  131.4.  Graves,  G.M.  1,  86.  5.  Joyce  1,  249. 
6.Guerber,L.M.A.,215.  7.  Hallet,  388.  8.  Malory  1,  35,45.  9.  Malory  1 ,  xxiv. 
10.  Encyc.  Brit,  "Welsh  Literature."  1 1 .  Guerber,  L.M.A.,  232. 
12.  Johnson,  85. 


General  name  for  Indo-European  peoples,  from  Sanskrit  arya,  a  man 
of  clay  (like  Adam),  or  else  a  man  of  the  land,  a  farmer  or  land- 
owner.1 The  ancestral  god  of  "Aryans"  was  Aryaman,  one  of  the 
twelve  zodiacal  sons  of  the  Hindu  Great  Goddess  Aditi.  In  Persia  he 
became  known  as  Ahriman,  the  dark  earth  god,  opponent  or 
subterranean  alter  ego  of  the  solar  deity  Ormazd  (Ahura  Mazda).  In 
Celtic  Ireland  he  was  Eremon,  one  of  the  sacred  kings  who  married 
the  Earth  (Tara). 

Though  there  was  nothing  "pure"  about  either  the  name  or  the 
far-flung  mixture  of  tribes  it  was  supposed  to  describe,  the  term 
"pure  Aryan"  was  revived  in  Nazi  Germany  to  support  a  mythological 
concept  of  Teutonic  stock,  the  so-called  Master  Race.  Non-Aryans 
were  all  the  "inferior"  strains:  Semites,  Negroes,  gypsies,  Slavs,  and 
Latinate  or  "swarthy"  people  whose  blood  was  said  to  be  polluting 
the  Nordic  superiority  of  their  betters. 

1.  Potter  &  Sargent,  33. 


The  religion  of  self-denial,  such  as  practiced  by  early  Christian 
eremites,  characterized  by  self-inflicted  pain,  hunger,  and  other  auster- 
ities, and  renunciation  of  sensual  pleasures. 

Perhaps  the  earliest  sectaries  to  regard  asceticism  as  the  key 
to  heaven  were  Jain  Buddhists  (see  Jains),  whose  theology  influenced 
Persian  patriarchs,  who  in  turn  influenced  Jewish  eremites  like  the 
Essenes.  Jain  Buddhist  monks  had  already  penetrated  the  courts  of 
Syria,  Egypt,  Macedonia,  and  Epirus  by  the  4th  century  B.C.,  and 
were  glorified  in  legend  for  the  alleged  magic  powers  they  developed 
through  prodigies  of  self-denial.1 

Originally,  men's  ascetic  practices  seem  to  have  evolved  from  a 
notion  that  extreme  forms  of  self-denial  would  bring  them  the 
magical  female  capacity  to  give  birth.  Oriental  myths  said  the  first 


creator-gods  acquired  the  ability  to  produce  living  things  by  "practic- 
ing fierce  asceticism  for  ten  thousand  years."2 

Though  men  never  achieved  the  ability  to  give  birth,  they  claimed 
other  miraculous  powers  developed  by  asceticism.  Perfected  eremites 
were  said  to  fly,  to  walk  on  water,  to  understand  all  languages,  to  turn 
base  metals  into  gold,  to  heal  lameness  and  blindness,  and  other 
miracles  that  became  the  common  property  of  all  scriptures  including 
the  Christian  ones.5 

Jain  Buddhists  looked  upon  women  as  hopelessly  inferior  in  the 
pursuit  of  asceticism.  Their  handbook  said  no  woman  could  achieve 
Nirvana,  because  "in  the  womb,  between  the  breasts,  in  their  navel  and 
loins,  a  subtle  emanation  of  life  is  continually  taking  place.  How  then 
can  they  be  fit  for  self-control?  A  woman  may  be  pure  in  faith  and  even 
occupied  with  a  study  of  the  sutras  or  the  practice  of  a  terrific 
asceticism;  in  her  case  there  will  be  no  falling  away  of  karmic  matter."4 

Some  of  the  ascetics  openly  despised  sexuality  and  motherhood. 
The  Mahabharata  anticipated  St.  Augustine's  remarks  about  the 
nastiness  of  birth:  "-Man  emerges  mixed  with  excrement  and  water, 
fouled  with  the  impurities  of  woman.  A  wise  man  will  avoid  the 
contaminating  society  of  women  as  he  would  the  touch  of  bodies 
infested  with  vermin."5  Some  advertised  their  renunciation  of  sex  by 
castrating  themselves  or  affixing  large  metal  rings  in  the  flesh  of  the 

Essenic  Judaism  and  early  Christianity  were  offshoots  of  the  Jain 
tradition,  urging  abandonment  of  the  family  and  of  all  secular 
concerns.7  Like  the  art  of  the  Jains,  Christian  art  in  the  early  medieval 
period  showed  stiff,  crude,  doll-like  figures,  apparently  bodiless  under 
their  wooden  draperies,  even  hands  and  faces  badly  drawn.  Not  even 
artists  were  permitted  to  study  the  human  form.8  To  look  at  some- 
thing attractive — especially  if  it  was  made  of  flesh — was  highly  suspect 
because  the  observer  might  enjoy  the  act  of  looking.  According  to  St. 
Jerome,  a  Christian  must  consider  poisonous  every  act  or  experience 
having  the  smallest  hint  of  sensual  pleasure.9 

Pain,  however,  was  permitted  and  encouraged  throughout  the 
Christian  era.  St.  Catherine  of  Siena  was  highly  praised  for  whipping 
herself  three  times  a  day,  once  for  her  own  sins,  once  for  the  sins  of  the 
living,  and  once  for  the  sins  of  the  dead.  St.  Simeon  Stylites  was 
glorified  for  remaining  motionless  on  top  of  his  pillar,  like  Buddhist 
standing-yogis,  until  his  living  flesh  rotted.10 

Fathers  of  the  church  constantly  urged  asceticism  upon  the  faith- 
ful. Gregory  of  Nyssa  touted  it  in  terms  of  both  wetness  and  dryness: 
"As  the  tympanum,  from  which  all  moisture  has  been  removed  so  that  it 
is  exceedingly  dry,  gives  out  a  loud  noise,  so  also  is  virginity,  which 
receives  no  life-giving  moisture,  illustrious  and  renowned."  "  Again  he 
said:  "We  often  see  water,  contained  in  a  pipe,  bursting  upward 
through  this  constraining  force,  which  will  not  let  it  leak,  and  this  in 
spite  of  its  natural  gravitation;  in  the  same  way  the  mind  of  man, 



Indian  epic  poem, 
consisting  of 
historical  and  legendary 
material  gathered 
between  the  4th  and 
10th  centuries  a.d., 
including  the  famous 


Asceticism  enclosed  in  the  compact  channel  of  an  habitual  continence,  and  not 

having  any  side  issues,  will  be  raised  by  virtue  of  its  natural  powers  of 
^B|^B^^^^Bi^^—      motion  to  an  exalted  love."  n 

Moral  tales  told  by  the  Christian  fathers  concentrated  on  renuncia- 
tion of  sexual  love,  and  acceptance  of  painful  martyrdom.  The  tale  of 
Sts.  Cyprian  and  Justina  is  typical.  Cyprian,  a  pagan  sorcerer,  fell  in  love 
with  the  Christian  maiden  Justina  and  cast  a  love  spell  on  her. 
Though  sworn  to  virginity  like  all  good  Christian  maidens,  Justina  was 
tortured  by  desire.  Nevertheless  she  conquered  her  desire  and  proved 
her  piety  with  such  prodigies  of  asceticism  that  she  impressed  even 
Cyprian:  she  fasted  almost  to  death,  she  slept  naked  on  the  stony 
ground,  she  mutilated  herself  to  spoil  her  beauty.13  Cyprian  was  so 
intrigued  by  all  this  he  turned  Christian  too,  and  was  martyred  along 
with  his  incorrigible  virgin.14 

Human  love  was  anathema  to  the  early  Christians  who  insisted 
that  families  must  be  abandoned.  Sexual  impulses  were  perverted 
into  unnatural  obsessions.15  The  fall  of  Rome  was  not  entirely  unrelated 
to  Christians'  abhorrence  of  the  basic  social  unit  of  the  state:  the 
interlocked  loyalties  and  dependencies  of  the  family.  Jesus  himself 
undermined  the  family  in  his  teaching:  "If  any  man  come  to  me,  and 
hate  not  his  father,  and  mother,  and  wife,  and  children,  and  breth- 
ren, and  sisters,  yea,  and  his  own  life  also,  he  cannot  be  my  disciple" 
(Luke  14:26).  Becker  says  Christianity  stood  for  "renunciation  of  this 
world  and  the  satisfactions  of  this  life,  which  is  why  the  pagans  thought 
Christianity  was  crazy.  It  was  a  sort  of  anti-heroism  by  an  animal  who 
denied  life  in  order  to  deny  evil." 16 

Principles  of  asceticism  so  embedded  themselves  in  Christian 
society  that  nearly  every  kind  of  sensual  pleasure  came  to  be  regarded 
as  wicked  only  because  it  was  pleasant.  The  delights  of  sacramental 
dancing  were  forbidden.  A  story  from  Ramersdorf  in  the  Rhine- 
land  tells  of  a  Christian  missionary  priest  who  found  youths  and  maidens 
dancing  together  on  the  Sabbath.  He  called  God's  curse  on  them, 
which  forced  them  to  go  on  dancing  day  and  night  until  they  lost  their 
minds.17  Some  European  peasants  still  abstain  from  sexual  inter- 
course during  the  sowing  season,  in  the  church-fostered  belief  that 
sexual  activity  might  call  down  a  curse  on  the  crop.18 

In  the  18th  century,  theologians  were  still  preaching  the  wicked- 
ness of  even  the  most  subtle  feelings  of  pleasure.  Beaumont 
counseled  women  especially  to  attribute  any  enjoyable  bodily  sensation 
to  the  devil's  influence:  "If  ye  perceive  a  sudden  sweet  taste  in  your 
mouths  or  feel  any  warmth  in  your  breasts,  like  fire,  or  any  form  of 
pleasure  in  any  part  of  your  body,  or ...  if  ye  become  aware  by 
occasion  of  pleasure  or  satisfaction  derived  from  such  perception,  that 
your  hearts  are  drawn  away  from  the  contemplation  of  Jesus  Christ 
and  from  spiritual  exercises . . .  then  this  sensation  is  very  much  to  be 
suspected  of  coming  from  the  Enemy;  and  therefore  were  it  ever  so 
wonderful  and  striking,  still  renounce  it." 19  Yet  the  obsessive  contem- 


plation  of  pain,  starting  with  Jesus's  pain  on  the  cross,  was  always  to  Asceticism 

be  encouraged. 

The  most  significant  difference  between  Christianity  and  its  pagan       ^^^^^^^^^_ 
forerunners  was  this  reversal  of  the  pleasure-pain  continuum.  Earlier 
societies  regarded  sensual  pleasure  as  a  touch  of  divinity,  and  "bliss" — 
sexual  or  otherwise — as  a  foretaste  of  heaven.  Woman  was  a  carrier 
of  the  divine  spark  because  of  her  capacity  to  give  and  receive  physical 
pleasure.  The  Christian  theory  turned  this  opinion  completely 
around.  Fathers  of  the  church  taught  that  the  human  race  must  die  out 
through  universal  celibacy,  before  Jesus  could  return  and  establish  his 
heaven  on  earth.  Reasoning  that  man  fell  from  grace  through  woman, 
man  could  return  to  grace  only  by  renouncing  woman.20  Therefore, 
medieval  churchmen  came  to  identify  sexuality  with  the  worst  of 
heresies  and  sins,  especially  since  St.  Augustine  had  labeled  it  the 
pipeline  of  original  sin.  Even  Protestant  theologians  adopted  this  view. 
Calvin  said  that,  because  of  its  origin  in  sexuality  and  in  a  woman's 
body,  every  child  was  "defiled  and  polluted"  in  God's  sight  even  before 
it  saw  the  light  of  the  day;  a  newborn  infant  is  a  "seed-bed  of  sin  and 
therefore  cannot  but  be  odious  and  abominable  to  God."  Martin  Luther 
married  an  ex-nun,  but  still  didn't  think  much  of  sex.  He  said,  "Had 
God  consulted  me  in  the  matter,  I  would  have  advised  him  to  continue 
the  generation  of  the  species  by  fashioning  them  out  of  clay."21 

This  note  of  arrogance,  even  hubris,  in  the  idea  of  man  issuing 
instructions  to  God,  was  always  a  hidden  component  of  asceticism, 
despite  its  outward  show  of  extreme  or  unnatural  humility.  "Nothing  is 
prouder  than  the  humility  of  the  ascetic  of  other-worldly  spirit  that 
proclaims  itself  superior  to  the  whole  natural  world,  or  than  the 
mysticism  that  renounces  the  self  only  to  commune  with  God 
himself."22  Here  lies  the  real  reason  for  men's  secret  delight  in  ascetic 
principles  and  practices.  It  must  be  remembered  that  the  original 
purpose  of  such  self-denial  was  to  become  identified  with  a  god  and  to 
acquire  God's  sacred  powers  for  one's  self. 

Becoming  a  god  meant  acquiring  the  ability  to  perform  miracles,  as 
many  Christian  ascetics  were  supposed  to  have  done.  By  definition, 
miracles  flouted  the  laws  of  nature.  Thus  the  ascetic  became  deliberate- 
ly un-natural,  confusing  the  denial  of  his  own  instinctual  desires  with 
denial  of  Mother  Nature's  observed  habits.  Ascetic  ideals  therefore 
placed  body  and  spirit  in  conflict  with  each  other.  "Asceticism  is  the 
ethical  code  which  arises  inevitably  from  a  dualistic  opposition  between 
the  spiritual  and  the  natural.  These  are  represented  as  absolutely  irre- 
concilable and  mutually  antagonistic;  if  a  man  is  to  escape  the  natural  he 
must  renounce  the  rights  of  his  physical  nature  in  the  interests  of  his 
spiritual."25  The  psychic  problem  of  such  dualistic  opinion  is  still  much 
in  evidence. 

1.  Campbell,  CM.,  146.  2. 0'Flaherty,  32, 47. 

3.  Menen,  93;  Tatz  &  Kent,  167;  Bardo  Thodol,  1 58.  4.  Campbell,  Or.M.,  237. 
5.  Menen,  17.  6.  Rawson,  E.A.,  48.  7.  Campbell,  Or.M.,  279.  8.  Zimmer,  56 
9.Mumford,  145.  10.  Encyc.  Brit,  "Simeon."  11.  Ashe,  176.  12.  Mumford,  139. 


Asherah  !'■  Ashe,  178.  14.  Attwater,  97.  1 5.  H.  Smith,  228-29.  16.  Becker,  E.E.,  1 54. 

.....         .  17.Guerber,L.R.,  111.  18.  Fra/er,  G.B.,  159.  19.  Silherer,  284-85. 

Ash  Wednesday  20.  Lederer,  165.  21.  Holmes,  35,  71.  22.  Muller,  32.  23.  Angus,  219. 


Semitic  name  of  the  Great  Goddess,  possibly  from  Old  Iranian  asha, 
"Universal  Law,"  a  law  of  the  matriarch,  like  Roman  ius  naturale.1 
Asherah  was  "in  wisdom  the  Mistress  of  the  Gods."2  Sumerians 
called  her  Ashnan,  "strength  of  all  things,"  and  "a  kindly  and  bountiful 
maiden."3  Her  sacred  city  Mar-ash  appears  in  the  Bible  as  Mareshah 
(Joshua  15:44). 

The  Old  Testament  "Asherah"  is  translated  "grove,"  without  any 
explanation  that  the  sacred  grove  represented  the  Goddess's  genital 
center,  birthplace  of  all  things.  In  the  matriarchal  period,  Hebrews 
worshipped  the  Goddess  in  groves  (1  Kings  14:23),  later  cut  down  by 
patriarchal  reformers  who  burned  the  bones  of  Asherah's  priests  on  their 
own  altars  (2  Chronicles  24:4-5). 

The  Goddess's  grove-yoni  was  Athra  qaddisa,  "the  holy  place" 
(literally,  "divine  harlot").  Sometimes  she  was  called  simply  "Holi- 
ness," a  word  later  applied  to  Yahweh.  Canaanites  called  her  Qaniyatu 
elima,  She  Who  Gives  Birth  to  the  Gods,  or  Rabbatu  athiratu 
yammi,  Lady  Who  Traverses  the  Sea  (i.e.,  the  Moon).4  Rabbatu  was  an 
early  female  form  of  rabbi.  Athirat,  Athra,  Aethra,  Athyr,  and  Egypt's 
Hathor  were  all  variations  of  the  same  name  for  the  Goddess.5  In  Egypt 
she  was  also  a  Law-giving  Mother,  Ashesh,  an  archaic  form  of  Isis; 
the  name  meant  both  "pouring  out"  and  "supporting,"  the  functions  of 
her  breasts.  Her  yonic  shrine  in  Thebes  was  Asher,  Ashrel,  or  Ashrelt. 
Some  called  her  "Great  Lady  of  Ashert,  the  lady  of  heaven,  the  queen 
of  the  gods."6 

For  a  while,  Asherah  accepted  the  Semitic  god  El  as  her  consort. 
She  was  the  Heavenly  Cow,  he  the  Bull.7  After  their  sacred  marriage, 
she  bore  the  Heavenly  Twins,  Shaher  and  Shalem,  the  stars  of  morning 
and  evening  (see  Lucifer).  The  marriage  rite  seems  to  have  involved 
the  cooking  of  a  kid  in  its  mother's  milk,  a  procedure  later  forbidden  by 
Jewish  priests  (Exodus  23:19). 8 

1.  Larousse,  312;  Bachofen,  192.  2.  Larousse,  76.  3.  Hays,  57;  Hooke,  M.E.M.,  27. 
4.  Albright,  121,210.  5.  Hooke,  M.E.M.,  70.  6.  Budge,  G.E.  2, 90.  7.  Larousse,  74. 
8.  Hooke,  M.E.M.,  93 

Ash  Wednesday 

This  allegedly  Christian  festival  was  taken  from  Roman  paganism, 
which  in  turn  took  it  from  Vedic  India.  Ashes  were  called  the  seed  of 
the  fire  god  Agni,  with  power  to  absolve  all  sins.  Even  if  a  man  does 
"a  thousand  things  that  one  ought  not  to  do,  by  bathing  in  ashes  he  will 
cause  all  of  that  to  be  burnt  to  ashes  as  fire  burns  a  forest  with  its  ener- 
gy." Another  source  said  ashes  stood  for  the  purifying  blood  of  Shiva,  in 


which  one  could  bathe  away  sins,  as  Christians  bathed  in  the  blood  of 
the  Lamb.1 

At  Rome's  New  Year  Feast  of  Atonement  in  March,  people  wore 
sackcloth  and  bathed  in  ashes  to  atone  for  their  sins.2  Then  as  now, 
New  Year's  Eve  was  a  carnival  of  eating,  drinking,  and  sinning,  on  the 
theory  that  all  sins  would  be  wiped  out  the  following  day.  As  the 
dying  god  of  March,  Mars  took  his  worshippers'  sins  with  him  into 
death.  Therefore  the  carnival  fell  on  dies  martis,  the  Day  of  Mars.  In 
English  this  was  Tuesday,  because  Mars  was  identified  with  the  Saxon 
god  Tiw.  In  French  the  carnival  day  was  Mardi  Gras,  "Fat  Tues- 
day," the  day  of  merrymaking  before  Ash  Wednesday. 

A  Catholic  directory  of  1 5 1 1  ordered  priests  to  say  to  the  congre- 
gation on  Ash  Wednesday,  "Remember,  man,  you  are  ashes  and  to 
ashes  will  return."  Fuller's  Church  History  said  the  purpose  of  Ash 
Wednesday  was  to  remind  every  man  that  he  is  "but  ashes  and  earth, 
and  thereto  shall  return."5  These  maxims  oddly  contradicted  the 
church's  official  doctrine  of  the  resurrection  of  the  flesh.  Their  purpose 
was  to  justify  with*  some  Christian  gloss  the  ancient  notion  that 
redemption  might  be  brought  about  by  contact  with  ashes. 

1.  O'Flaherty,  148-49,  174.  2.  Encyc.  Brit.,  "Ash  Wednesday."  3.  Hazlitt,  19. 


Fuller's  Church 
History  A  monumental 
history  of  the  English 
church  by  Thomas 
Fuller  (1608-1661). 


Christian  demon  often  credited  with  possessing  nuns  or  young 
women  to  make  them  lustful,  because  he  was  portrayed  in  the  Book  of 
Tobit  as  a  spirit  of  lechery.  Tobit's  Asmodeus  was  really  "the  god 
Asmo,"  or  Aeshma,  a  Persian  deity  associated  with  Ahriman.  Zoroastri- 
an  priests  may  have  brought  about  his  original  diabolization  because 
of  an  archaic  connection  with  the  Goddess  Ma.1 

1 .  Larousse,  3 1 8. 

Book  of  Tobit  One 

of  the  Apocrypha,  once 
accepted  as  part  of 
the  Judeo-Christian 
canon  of  sacred 
scriptures  but  later  elim- 
inated from  the 
official  canon. 


The  ass-god  Pales  had  an  extensive  cult  throughout  the  ancient 
world.  Palestine,  Philistia,  and  the  Palatine  Hill  in  Rome  were  named 
for  Pales,  who  was  both  male  and  female.1 

The  Old  Norse  word  Ass  meant  both  "Asian"  and  "deity," 
possibly  indicating  that  the  divine  ass  originated  in  Asia.2  The  pre- 
Vedic  sacred  king  Ravana  sported  ten  crowned  human  heads 
surmounted  by  one  ass  head,  symbolizing  the  spirit  of  the  ass  god 
incarnate  in  ten  kings.3  The  long  ears  of  the  ass  seem  to  have  had  the 
same  significance  of  virility  in  ancient  India  as  the  horns  of  the  sacred 
bull  or  stag.4 

Tacitus  said  the  Jews  worshipped  the  ass  because  wild  asses  were 
responsible  for  their  survival  in  the  desert.5  According  to  Genesis  36:24, 

Cornelius  Tacitus 

Roman  historian 
and  rhetorician,  ca. 
56-120  a.d. 



Pyramid  Texts  Col- 
lections of  prayers, 
hymns,  and  magic 
spells  inscribed  on  the 
inner  walls  of  the 
pyramids  at  Saqqarah 
(Sakkara),  dating 
from  the  5  th  through 
7th  dynasties. 

it  was  the  tribal  matriarch  Anah,  or  Hannah,  who  first  found  asses  in  the 
wilderness.  Balaam's  oracular  she-ass  may  have  been  a  manifestation  of 
the  spirit  of  Anah,  as  Balaam  himself  was  another  name  for  Baal. 
Samson  slew  the  Philistines  with  an  ass's  jawbone,  the  same  bone  still 
regarded  as  a  seat  of  the  soul  by  some  African  tribes.6  Jesus  entered 
Jerusalem  on  an  ass's  colt,  symbol  of  the  New  Year.  The  lilim  or 
Children  of  Lilith  were  ass-haunched,  for  they  were  spirits  left  over 
from  the  real  source  of  the  Jewish  ass-cult:  Egypt,  home  of  the  ass- 
headed  god  Set,  or  Seth. 

Set  once  ruled  the  dynastic  gods,  and  in  token  of  his  sovereignty 
displayed  a  pair  of  ass's  ears  at  the  tip  of  a  reed  scepter.  The  Hyksos 
kings  of  Egypt  revived  Set's  cult  in  the  2nd  millenium  B.C.,  perhaps 
because  their  own  ass-eared  Midas  was  a  similar  god-king.  The  annual 
alternation  of  Set  and  his  brother  Osiris  (or  Horus),  who  murdered  each 
other  in  perpetual  rivalry  for  the  favors  of  Isis,  reflected  constant 
replacement  of  sacred  kings  in  pre-dynastic  times.7 

Ass-eared  king  Midas,  a  son  of  Cybele,  died  of  drinking  bull's 
blood.  In  other  words,  he  was  connected  with  the  Taurobolium  or  bull- 
sacrifice  made  in  honor  of  both  Cybele  and  Isis.  Midas  has  been 
identified  with  Mita  ("Seed"),  a  king  of  the  Moschians  or  "calf-men," 
who  invaded  the  country  of  the  Hittites  from  Thrace  during  the  second 
millenium  B.C.  Midas's  Golden  Touch  and  ass's  ears  link  him  with  the 
cult  of  Set  and  the  Golden  Calf  (Horus),  whose  image  was  worshipped 
by  the  Israelites  (Exodus  32:2-4). 

Under  Egypt's  Hyksos  kings,  Set  was  a  god  of  the  hot  desert  wind, 
known  as  the  Breath  of  the  Ass.  He  was  "Lord  of  the  Chambers  of  the 
South,"  whence  storm  winds  came.8  His  wind  from  the  desert  was 
supposed  to  bring  pestilence,  i.e.,  typhus,  derived  from  Set's  Greek 
name,  Typhon.  This  name  was  interlingual  and  world-wide.  It  meant 
both  the  ass  god  and  the  wind  called  tufan  in  Arabic  and  Hindustani;  t'ai 
fung  in  Chinese;  and  tuffbon  or  Typhoon  in  the  South  Pacific.9 

Ass-headed  Set  was  a  sacrificial  deity  in  the  cult  of  Horus  and 
Osiris.  He  was  crucified  on  a  furka  and  wounded  in  the  side.10  He  and 
Horus  were  represented  as  alternating  year-gods  who  fought  and 
castrated  one  another,  each  being  baptized  in  the  blood  of  the  other's 
"phallic  eye,"  as  the  Pyramid  Text  said:  "Horus  is  purified  with  the 
Eye  of  his  brother  Set;  Set  is  purified  with  the  Eye  of  his  brother 
Horus."  n  The  Eye  or  phallus  passed  from  one  to  the  other.  A  statue 
of  Horus  at  Coptos  carried  Set's  severed  phallus  in  his  hand.12  After 
castrating  Set,  Horus  spread  his  blood  on  the  fields  to  render  them 
fertile — the  usual  fructification-by-male-blood  found  in  the  oldest  sacri- 
ficial Mysteries.13 

Thus,  Set  and  Horus  were  remnants  of  a  primitive  sacred-king 
cult,  which  the  Jews  adopted.  The  story  of  the  rival  gods  appeared  in 
the  Bible  as  Seth's  supplanting  of  the  sacrificed  shepherd  Abel,  evidently 


the  same  "Good  Shepherd"  as  Osiris-Horus  (Genesis  4:25).  Their 
rivalry  was  resolved  in  Egypt  by  having  the  pharaoh  unite  both  gods  in 
himself.  Tomb  paintings  of  Rameses  IV  showed  him  as  both  Set  and 
Horus,  two  heads  set  upon  one  neck.14 

Similarly,  the  Jewish  God  uniting  both  Father  and  Son  was 
sometimes  an  ass-headed  man  crucified  on  a  tree.  This  was  one  of  the 
earliest  representations  of  the  Messiah's  crucifixion.  Some  said  Christ 
was  the  same  as  the  Jewish  ass-god  Iao,  identified  with  Set.15  Jews  in 
Rome  were  said  to  worship  an  ass's  head  as  their  deity.16 

The  Roman  cult  of  the  ass  apparently  originated  in  Libya,  home  of 
the  bisexual  Pales,  whose  temple  stood  on  the  Palatine  Hill  and  gave 
rise  to  the  word  "palace."17  Servius  said  Pales  was  a  Goddess,  the  Diva 
Palatua,  a  disguise  of  Vesta.  Others  said  Pales  was  either  a  female 
protectress  of  herd  animals,  or  Vesta's  male  consort.  In  the  first  two 
centuries  a.d.,  Pales  was  worshipped  as  a  priapic  god  at  the  festival  of 
the  Palilia,  traditional  date  of  the  founding  of  Rome,  when  the  Palladi- 
um was  brought  to  Vesta's  temple.18  Priests  of  Pales  wore  ass-head 
masks  as  they  danced  in  honor  of  the  long-eared  deity.  The  Palilia  was 
taken  into  the  Christian  calendar  as  the  Feast  of  St.  George.  One  of 
its  old  customs  may  have  given  rise  to  the  Halloween  game  of  "Pin  the 
Tail  on  the  Donkey,"  which  recalls  Rome's  sacrifices  of  equine  tails 
triumphantly  carried  to  the  temple  of  Vesta.19 

I.  Lumusse,  209.  2.  Turville-Petre,  23.  3.  Norman,  123.  4.  Rawson,  E.A.,  25. 
5.  Tacitus,  658.  6.  Book  of  the  Dead,  270-71.  7.  Graves,  G.M.  1,  283-84. 

8.  Graves,  W.G.,  301.  9.  Encyc.  Brit,  "Typhoon."  10.  Campbell,  M.I.,  29. 

II.  Norman,  42.  12.  Knight,  S.L.,  124.  13.  Budge,  G.E.  2,  59. 

14.  Norman,  38, 48.  15.  M.  Smith,  62.  16.Guignebert,  53.  17.  Briffault  3, 18. 
1 8.  Lumusse,  209.  1 9.  Dume/il,  221. 



European  mispronunciation  of  the  Saracenic  brotherhood  of  hash i- 
shim,  "hashish-takers,"  who  fought  Christian  crusaders  in  the 
Holy  Land.  See  Aladdin. 


Lady  of  Byblos,  one  of  the  oldest  forms  of  the  Great  Goddess  in  the 
Middle  East,  identified  with  Egypt's  Hathor,  Mycenae's  Demeter, 
Cyprus's  Aphrodite. 

Her  shrine  at  Byblos  dated  back  to  the  Neolithic  and  flourished 
throughout  the  Bronze  Age.1  She  was  the  same  creating-preserving- 
and-destroying  Goddess  worshipped  by  all  Indo-European  cultures,  and 
still  typified  by  Kali  as  the  symbol  of  Nature.  Astarte  was  the  "true 
sovereign  of  the  world,"  tirelessly  creating  and  destroying,  eliminating 

The  Bible  calls  her 
Asherah  or  Ashtoreth, 
the  Goddess  wor- 
shipped by  Solomon 
(1  Kings  11:5). 



To  the  Arabs  the 
Goddess  was  Athtar, 
"Venus  in  the 
Morning."  In  Aramaic 
she  was  Attar-Sa- 
mayin,  "Morning  Star 
of  Heaven,"  uniting 
two  sexes  in  herself,  like 
Lucifer  the  Morning 
Star  and  Diana  Luci- 
fera.  Her  Hurrian 
name  was  Attart,  or 
sometimes  Ishara, 
another  form  of  Ishtar, 
"the  Star."4  To  Ca- 
naanites,  she  was 
Celestial  Ruler,  Mis- 
tress of  Kingship, 
mother  of  all  baaJim 

the  old  and  generating  the  new.2  Sidonian  kings  could  not  rule 
without  her  permission.  Each  king  styled  himself  first  and  foremost 
"Priest  of  Astarte." 

Sumerian  cylinder  seals  from  Lagash,  ca.  2300  B.C.,  showed  the 
Goddess  in  a  pose  identical  with  Kali's  love-and-death  sacramental 
posture,  squatting  on  top  of  her  consort's  body.5 

Astarte  ruled  all  the  spirits  of  the  dead  who  lived  in  heaven  wearing 
bodies  of  light,  visible  from  earth  as  stars.  Hence,  she  was  known  as 
Astroarche,  "Queen  of  the  Stars."6  She  was  the  mother  of  all  souls  in 
heaven,  the  Moon  surrounded  by  her  star-children,  to  whom  she 
gave  their  "astral"  (starry)  bodies.  Occultists  still  speak  of  the  astral  body 
as  an  invisible  double,  having  forgotten  the  word's  original  connota- 
tion of  starlight.7 

Astarte-Ashtoreth  was  transformed  into  a  devil  by  Christian  writ- 
ers, who  automatically  assumed  that  any  deity  mentioned  in  the  Bible 
other  than  Yahweh  was  one  of  the  denizens  of  hell.  She  was  also 
masculinized.  One  finds  in  books  of  the  1 5th  and  16th  centuries  a 
demon  Ashtoreth  or  Astaroth,  a  "duke"  or  "prince"  of  hell.8  Milton 
knew  better;  he  spoke  of  "Astarte,  queen  of  heaven,  with  crescent 

Scholars  who  really  understood  the  mystery  of  Astarte  recognized 
in  her  one  of  the  ancient  prototypes  of  the  virgin  Mary.  In  Syria  and 
Egypt  her  sacred  dramas  celebrated  the  rebirth  of  the  solar  god  from  the 
celestial  Virgin  each  25th  of  December.  A  newborn  child  was 
exhibited,  while  the  cry  went  up  that  the  Virgin  had  brought  forth. 
Frazer  says,  "No  doubt  the  Virgin  who  thus  conceived  and  bore  a 
son  on  the  twenty-fifth  of  December  was  the  great  Oriental  goddess 
whom  the  Semites  called  the  Heavenly  Virgin  or  simply  the  Heavenly 
Goddess;  in  Semitic  lands  she  was  a  form  of  Astarte." 10 

1.  Encyc.  Brit,  "Byblos."  2.  Massa,  101.  3.  Campbell,  Or.  M.,  42. 

4.  Albright,  196,  228.  5.  Stone,  164.  6.  Lindsay,  O.A.,  327.  7.  Cavendish,  P.E.,  44. 

8.deGivry,  132.  9.  Cavendish,  RE.,  237.  10.  Frazer,  G.B.,  416. 


"Star,"  Plato's  name  for  Lucifer,  the  biblical  god  of  the  Morning 
Star.1  He  was  perceived  as  a  cyclic  deity,  attending  the  sun  into  the 
underworld  at  sunset,  and  also  announcing  "He  is  risen"  in  the 

1.  Lindsay,  O.A.,  94. 


"Starry  One,"  a  Roman  title  of  the  Libyan  Goddess  of  holy  law, 
Libra  or  Libera,  symbolized  by  the  Scales  of  Judgment  now  enshrined 


in  the  zodiac  as  Libra.  Like  Minerva,  Athene,  Maat,  and  other 
manifestations  of  the  same  Goddess,  she  was  characterized  as  a  celestial 
Virgin  dispensing  the  fates  of  men.  See  Virgo. 



Study  of  the  stars  has  been  called  "the  basis  of  all  intellectual 
culture." '  It  was  highly  refined  by  the  Chaldeans,  who  were  simulta- 
neously astronomers  and  astrologers.  Unlike  modern  "Chaldeans," 
they  were  moon  worshippers,  basing  their  system  almost  entirely  on  the 
movements  of  the  Moon-goddess.  Their  zodiac  was  known  as 
Houses  of  the  Moon.2 

Apparently  a  majority  of  moon-watchers  were  women,  the  pries- 
tesses charged  with  determining  correct  seasons  for  planting  and 
harvest,  drawing  up  calendars,  etc.  Pliny  said  the  study  of  the  heavens, 
to  foretell  events  such  as  eclipses,  was  traditionally  the  business  of 
women.  He  suspected  the  priestesses'  magic  didn't  cause  eclipses,  but 
rather  foresaw  them  by  scientific  measurements;  yet  "the  most  part 
of  the  common  people  have  been  and  are  of  this  opinion  . . .  that  all  the 
same  is  done  by  enchantments,  and  that  by  the  means  of  some 
sorceries  and  herbs  together,  both  sun  and  moon  may  be  charmed,  and 
enforced  both  to  loose  and  recover  their  light:  to  do  which  feat, 
women  are  thought  to  be  more  skilful  and  meet  than  men."  He  credited 
the  Goddesses  Medea  and  Circe  with  special  powers  over  the  lights 
of  heaven.3 

Divination  by  the  lights  of  heaven  was  another  particular  province 
of  the  Moon-goddess  and  her  sybils,  the  word  cognate  with  the 
Goddess  Cybele  and  possibly  derived  from  Chaldean  subultu,  the 
Celestial  Virgin  (the  constellation  of  Virgo).4  An  archaic  term  for 
astrological  divination  was  mathesis,  "the  Learning,"  literally  Mother- 
wisdom.  Chaldean  astrologers  were  Mathematici,  "learned 
mothers." 5 

As  a  result  of  its  ancient  feminine  associations,  astrology  was 
viewed  as  a  devilish  art  by  many  fathers  of  the  Christian  church. 
Some  thought  it  indistinguishable  from  witchcraft.  Others  respected  it. 
Origen  said  the  stars  are  intelligent  spirits,  able  to  foresee  the  future 
and  communicate  their  knowledge  by  their  observed  motions.  St. 
Thomas  Aquinas  agreed  with  this.  He  said  man's  fate  is  the  power 
exerted  by  the  stars  in  their  movements.6 

Savonarola  thought  it  a  disgrace,  however,  that  in  his  day  the 
church  was  "wholly  governed  by  astrology,"  as  he  said.  Every 
important  prelate  had  his  "Chaldean"  at  his  side,  determining  every 
move  by  the  stars.7  St.  Jerome  said  astrology  was  idolatry.  Sts.  Gregory, 
Ambrose,  Chrysostom,  Eusebius,  and  Lactantius  all  condemned  it. 

Origen  (Origenes 
Adamantius)  Christian 
father,  ca.  185-254 
a.d.,  an  Egyptian  who 
wrote  in  Greek,  ex- 
erting a  powerful 
influence  on  the  early 
Greek  church.  At 
first  he  was  accounted  a 
saint,  but  three  cen- 
turies after  his  death  he 
was  declared  a  here- 
tic because  of  Gnostic 
elements  found  in 
his  writings. 



Council  of  Toledo 

The  greatest  theological 
significance  was  at- 
tributed to  the  church 
council  held  in  Tole- 
do in  675  a.d.,  though 
there  were  seventeen 
other  church  councils  in 
the  same  city  be- 
tween the  5  th  and  8th 

Zodiacus  Christianas 
A  curious  astrological 
work  claiming  Jesuit 
origin.  Full  title: 
Zodiacus  Christianus 
locupletatus  seu 
Signa  XII  Divinae 
Totidem  Symbolis  ex- 
plicata  ab  Hierem 
Drexilio  e  Societatis 

Peter  of  Abano 

(1250-1318)  Renais- 
sance scholar, 
physician,  geomancer, 
astrologer,  and  here- 
tic; an  acquaintance  of 
Marco  Polo. 

St.  Augustine  said  astrology  must  be  expelled  from  all  Christian  nations. 
It  was  prohibited  by  the  Council  of  Toledo.8 

Despite  all  this,  the  church  took  astrology  to  its  bosom  in  the  12th 
and  1 3th  centuries.  Pope  Julius  II  settled  the  date  of  his  coronation  on 
the  advice  of  astrologers.  Pope  Paul  III  planned  the  consistory  by 
horoscopes.  Pope  Leo  X  founded  a  chair  of  astrology  in  a  major 
university.9  Signs  of  the  zodiac  were  associated  with  the  apostles. 
Cathedrals  were  decorated  with  astrological  symbols.  The  Zodiacus 
Christianus  compared  the  zodiac  to  the  stages  of  Christian  life  and  the 
twelve  virtues.10 

Peter  of  Abano  was  one  of  the  few  unbelievers.  He  openly  scoffed 
at  God,  and  managed  to  avoid  the  Inquisition  only  by  dying  at  an 
opportune  moment.  Toward  the  end,  he  remarked  that  he  had  devoted 
his  life  to  three  noble  arts:  philosophy,  which  made  him  subtle; 
medicine,  which  made  him  rich;  and  astrology,  which  made  him  a  liar.11 

Protestants  were  not  as  enthusiastic  about  astrology  as  Catholics. 
Queen  Elizabeth  I  of  England  disapproved  of  the  Chaldean  art,  fearing 
implications  of  treason  against  the  royal  person  in  prognosticating  the 
length  of  her  life.  Toward  the  latter  part  of  her  reign,  she  imposed 
severe  legal  penalties  for  casting  royal  horoscopes.12  Protestant  leaflets 
listed  among  the  "sins  of  the  papists"  such  as  "Observation  and  choice 
of  days,  of  planetary  hours,  of  motions  and  courses  of  stars 
. . .  horoscoping,  or  marking  the  hours  of  nativities,  witchcrafts,  en- 
chantments, and  all  such  superstitious  trumpery."13 

Yet  the  common  people  retained  many  superstitious  beliefs  based 
on  astrology.  The  idea  that  the  stars  are  souls  in  heaven  never  really 
died  out.  English  peasants  were  sure  that  a  falling  star  denoted  either  a 
conception  or  a  birth — some  said  one,  some  said  the  other,  for  none 
were  clear  about  which  moment  the  soul  descended  from  heaven  to 
occupy  its  new  body.14  Because  it  represented  an  essence  of  new  life, 
the  falling  star  was  and  still  is  "wished  on,"  like  any  spirit  thought  to  be 
passing  from  one  world  to  another. 

1.  Campbell,  Mi,  149.  2.  Briffault  2,  600.  3.  Hawkins,  138-39. 
4.  Briffault  2, 600.  5.  Rose,  262.  6.Castiglioni,259,261.  7.  Lea  unabridged,  772. 
8.  Hazlirt,  22.  9.  Seznec,  57.  10.  Budge,  AT.,  414.  1 1 .  Lea  unabridged,  774. 
12.  Robbins,  161.  13.  Hazlitt,  376.  14.  Elworthy,  424. 

Calydon  Ancient 
town  of  Aetolia,  site  of 
the  temple  of  Arte- 
mis Laphria  (Artemis 
the  Forager). 


Amazonian  huntress,  the  best  athlete  in  Calydon.  As  an  infant, 
Atalanta  was  suckled  by  Artemis  herself,  in  totemic  form  as  a  She-Bear. 
When  she  grew  up,  she  took  part  in  the  famous  hunt  of  the  Caly- 
donian  Boar  and  drew  first  blood,  pausing  only  to  kill  two  centaurs  who 
tried  to  rape  her  on  the  hunting  field. 

She  was  a  faster  runner  than  any  man.  Her  suitors  had  to  beat  her 


in  a  footrace,  or  suffer  death.  Many  were  killed  before  one  managed 
to  trick  her  into  losing  the  race  by  dropping  golden  apples  to  divert  her 
attention.  Some  said  she  and  her  bridegroom  were  turned  into  lions 
and  yoked  to  the  chariot  of  the  Great  Mother  of  the  Gods.1  Phrygian 
Cybele  always  rode  in  a  chariot  drawn  by  two  lions,  male  and  female. 

1.  Graves,  CM.  1,264-67. 



Philistine  Fish-goddess,  called  Tirgata  in  Syria,  identified  with  Aph- 
rodite. At  the  temple  of  Der,  in  Babylon,  she  was  Derceto,  "Whale  of 
Der."  Her  daughter,  Queen  Semiramis,  founded  the  city  of  Babylon.1 
She  gave  rebirth  to  Jonah  in  his  earlier  Babylonian  form  as  the  fish-god 
Oannes.  Philistines  called  him  Dagon,  Atargatis's  mate.  At  Harran, 
the  Goddess's  sacred  fish  were  credited  with  oracular  powers.  In  Boeotia 
she  was  identified  with  Artemis  who  wore  a  fish  amulet  over  her 
genitals.2  See  Fish. 

1.  Baring-Gould,  C.M.M.A.,  497.  2.  Neumann,  CM.,  pi.  134. 


Greek  a-theos,  one  who  denies  the  existence  of  any  god.  Christian 
theologians  tended  to  regard  atheism  as  devilish,  though  atheism  im- 
plied disbelief  in  devils  as  well  as  all  other  supernatural  entities. 

Oriental  thinkers  were  less  simplistic  about  atheism.  The  more 
advanced  sages  taught  that  non-belief  can  be  more  "religious"  than 
belief — indeed,  atheism  may  make  better  human  beings  than  faith  can 
make.  In  the  east  "it  is  not  thought  impossible  that  atheism  may  be  as 
profoundly  religious  as  theism,  nor  is  atheism  regarded  by  religious  men 
as  in  itself  unspiritual.  This  is  extremely  hard  for  a  westerner  to 
understand — he  does  not  see  that  the  essence  of  religion  lies  in  the 
religious  experience,  and  not  in  any  belief  at  all,  and  that  all  so-called 
religious  beliefs  or  doctrines  are  merely  theories  about  the  religious 
experience." ' 

Evans- Wentz  called  attention  to  the  same  Oriental  thought: 
"  The  Fatherhood  of  God'  as  a  personal  and  anthropomorphic  deity  is 
the  cornerstone  of  Christian  theology,  but  in  Buddhism — although 
the  Buddha  neither  denied  nor  affirmed  the  existence  of  a  Supreme 
Deity — it  has  no  place,  because,  as  the  Buddha  maintained,  neither 
believing  nor  not  believing  in  a  Supreme  God,  but  self-exertion  in  right- 
doing,  is  essential  to  comprehending  the  true  nature  of  life."2 

By  these  standards,  no  criminal  could  be  considered  religious,  no 
matter  how  much  faith  he  professed.  Conversely,  no  person  who 

W.  Y.  Evans- Wentz 

British  student  of 
Tibetan  Buddhism, 
translator  of  the 
Tibetan  Book  of  the 
Dead,  1927. 


Athene  treated  his  fellow-creatures  well  could  be  considered  irreligious,  no 

Atlas  matter  how  many  gods  he  denied.  Oriental  sages  viewed  theological 

mmmm ^m j, mam^^     reasoning  with  a  certain  contempt,  as  irrelevant  to  the  behavior  that 
constitutes  true  religion:  "Mere  talk  about  religion  is  only  an  intellec- 
tual exercise. . . .  Of  what  use  are  grand  phrases  about  Atma 
(the  soul)  on  the  lips  of  those  who  hate  and  injure  one  another? 
. . .  Religion  is  kindness."3 

1.  Vetter,  320-21.  2.  Bardo  Thodol,  236.  3.  Avalon,  175. 


Mother-goddess  of  Athens,  worshipped  as  Holy  Virgin,  Athene 
Parthenia,  in  the  Parthenon,  her  "Virgin-temple."  Though  classic 
writers  insisted  on  her  chastity,  older  traditions  gave  her  several 
consorts,  such  as  Hephaestus  and  Pan.1  She  was  united  with  the  phallic 
Pallas,  whose  "Palladium"  was  a  lingam,  later  Rome's  greatest  fetish.2 

Athene  came  from  North  Africa.  She  was  the  Libyan  Triple 
Goddess  Neith,  Metis,  Medusa,  Anath,  or  Ath-enna.  An  inscription 
at  Larnax-Lapithou  named  her  Athene  in  Greek,  Anat  in  Phoenician.3 
Pre-Hellenic  myths  said  she  came  from  the  uterus  of  Lake  Tritonis 
(Three  Queens)  in  Libya.4  Egyptians  sometimes  called  Isis  Athene, 
which  meant  "I  have  come  from  myself."5 

Greeks  claimed  Athene  was  born  from  Zeus's  head,  after  he 
Sign  of  Athene  swallowed  her  mother  Metis — i.e.,  Medusa,  "Female  Wisdom," 

formerly  symbolized  by  the  Gorgoneum,  Athene's  snake-haired  mask, 
invested  with  power  to  turn  men  to  stone.6  Gorgo,  or  Gorgon,  was 
Athene's  Destroyer  aspect.7  Funerary  statues  or  phallic  pillars  were  her 
"men  turned  to  stone,"  perhaps  even  identified  with  the  pillars  of  the 
Parthenon  which  was  seized  by  Christians  at  an  unknown  date  in 
the  5th  or  6th  century  a.d.  and  rededicated  as  a  temple  of  the  virgin 

1.  Graves,  CM.  1,  149.  2.  Dumezil,  323.  3.Massa,  104.  4.  Graves,  G.M.  1,44. 
5.  Budge,  G.E.  1,459.  6.  Larousse,  107.  7.  Knight,  S.L.,  130.  8.  Hyde,  61. 


Pre-Hellenic  Titan  or  earth-god,  brother  of  Prometheus,  con- 
demned to  carry  the  world  on  his  back  because  he  took  part  in  the 
Giants'  Revolt  against  the  Olympian  gods.  This  was  a  re-interpreta- 
tion of  his  primary  earth-supporting  function.  As  Prometheus  was 
associated  with  the  Caucasus  and  Heracles  with  the  "Pillars  of 
Heracles"  in  the  west,  so  Atlas  was  associated  with  the  Atlas  Mountains 
of  Africa — indicating  that  the  Titans  were  originally  divine  pillars  of 
the  heavens,  upholding  the  world.  Atlas  might  be  compared  to  the 


Vedic  god  Vishnu  who  took  the  form  of  a  tortoise  (Greek  Tartarus)  Atonement 

and  supported  the  world  on  his  back. 


In  ancient  Mesopotamia  the  Day  of  Atonement  corresponded  to  the 
beginning  of  the  New  Year,  when  all  sins  were  collectively  purged  for  a 
new  time-cycle.  The  Jews'  Yom  Kippur,  Day  of  Atonement,  was 
based  on  the  Sumero-Babylonian  kupparu,  an  atonement  ceremony  in 
which  a  sheep  was  ceremonially  loaded  with  all  the  community's  sins, 
and  killed.  The  sheep  was  an  animal  substitute  for  the  man  who  in 
earlier  times  died  as  Sin  Bearer,  Savior,  or  Good  Shepherd — that  is, 
Dumuzi  or  Tammuz. 

A  ram  played  the  part  of  Sin  Bearer  at  atonement  festivals  of 
Egypt,  which  is  why  Aries  the  Ram  is  still  the  zodiacal  sign  of  the 
New  Year  that  began  in  March,  by  ancient  reckoning.  Egyptians  called 
him  Amon  the  ram  god;  the  Jews  assimilated  him  to  the  paschal  lamb 
and  sacrificed  him  at  Passover. 

All  over  the  world,  the  sheep  stood  for  the  shepherd  as  an 
atonement-victim.  In  China  the  name  Ch'iang,  "Shepherd,"  was 
given  to  war  prisoners  who  provided  sacrificial  victims.  The  pictograph 
for  "shepherd"  was  a  man  with  a  knife  severing  his  neck.1  The  dead 
shepherd  was  also  called  the  Son  of  God.  In  Samarkand  during  the  2nd 
century  B.C.,  "the  Son  of  God  died  with  the  seventh  moon  ...  all  the 
inhabitants,  without  distinction,  appear  dressed  in  robes  of  black  wool. 
They  go  barefooted,  striking  their  breasts,  uttering  loud  wails  and 
weeping  copious  tears.  Three  hundred  persons,  both  men  and  women, 
go  about  the  fields  scattering  grass,  and  looking  for  the  remains  of  the 
Son  of  God."2  Such  was  a  Chinese  traveler's  impression  of  the  rite 
known  in  Greece  as  the  anagnorisis,  search  and  discovery  (see 

Israel's  law  called  for  a  goat  to  bear  away  the  sins  of  the  community 
to  the  god  Azazel,  whom  the  Syrians  called  Aziz,  "the  Lord's 
Messenger."3  Having  selected  the  scape-goat,  the  priest  would  "confess 
over  him  all  the  iniquities  of  the  children  of  Israel,  and  all  their 
transgressions  in  all  their  sins,  putting  them  on  the  head  of  the  goat" 
(Leviticus  16:21).  A  first  goat  was  driven  away,  a  second  one  was 
killed,  for  no  god  would  absolve  sins  without  an  offering  of  blood: 
"Almost  all  things  are  by  the  law  purged  with  blood;  and  without 
shedding  of  blood  there  is  no  remission"  (Hebrews  9:22). 

As  development  of  the  wool  industry  made  it  more  profitable 
to  keep  sheep  alive  for  their  fleeces  than  to  kill  them  for  their  meat,  the 
goat  became  a  more  popular  sacrificial  victim.  The  animals  were 
sometimes  skinned  to  produce  copious  shedding  of  blood  for  remission 


Atonement  of  sins.  An  incantation  from  the  Shurpu  series  gives  a  magic  rationale 

for  flaying  a  scape-goat: 

^^^^^^^^^^^^m  As  this  goat  skin  is  pulled  off  and  thrown  into  the  fire,  and  the  burning 

Flame  consumes  it,  and  it  does  not  return  to  its  goat,  and  it  is  no  longer 
dyed  (with  blood),  so  the  oath,  the  ban,  the  pain,  the  misery,  the  disease, 
the  sickness,  the  trespass,  the  misdeed,  the  crime,  the  sin,  the  disease 
which  dwells  in  my  body,  my  flesh,  and  my  joints,  may  they  be  pulled  off 
like  this  goat  skin,  and  may  the  ban  depart  and  may  I  see  the  light. 4 

Early  Greek  myths  evoke  primitive  totemism  with  goat  gods 
flayed  in  atonement  for  the  sins  of  others.  Athene  flayed  the  goat  god 
Pallas,  or  Pan,  and  made  her  aegis  from  his  skin.5  Phrygians  called 
the  same  god  the  satyr  Marsyas,  nailed  to  a  pine  tree  and  flayed  in 
atonement  for  a  crime  against  Apollo.  In  Rome,  goats  were  flayed  at 
the  purification  festival  of  the  Lupercalia,  where  the  dying  satyr-god 
Faunus  was  offered  to  the  Sabine  mother-goddess  Ops.6 

The  old  Roman  New  Year  was  celebrated  at  the  Ides  of  March 
and  called  the  Mamuralia,  carrying  another  trace  of  scapegoat- 
sacrifice.  A  man  dressed  in  goatskins  was  led  through  the  city  in 
procession,  beaten  with  rods,  and  driven  away  into  exile  with  the 
formula,  "Out  with  hunger,  in  with  health  and  wealth."7  Ovid  said  the 
March  scapegoat  was  a  legendary  smith  named  Mamurius,  who 
forged  coins  representing  each  month  of  the  year — zodiacal  sun- 

Such  practices  make  it  clear  that  scapegoat-sacrifices  were  formerly 
human,  and  the  animals  replaced  human  victims.  Liturgical  formulae 
nearly  always  sent  human  sins  into  oblivion  along  with  the  sacrificed 
animal.  Egyptians,  killing  the  bull  that  represented  Osiris,  said  the 
whole  nation's  sins  were  placed  on  his  head.8  Animal  sacrifice  took  a 
more  humane  form  in  Tibet:  at  the  New  Year  ceremony,  three 
horses  and  three  dogs  were  smeared  with  red  paint  instead  of  flayed, 
then  dedicated  to  the  temple.9 

Christian  symbolism  made  Jesus  the  sacrificial  Lamb  of  God  slain 

to  atone  for  sin  like  the  paschal  lamb.  Some  early  Christian  writers 

insisted  that  animal  sacrifice  came  first,  and  human  sacrifice  was  a  later, 

"higher"  development:  "God  is  a  man-eater.  For  this  reason  men  are 

sacrificed  to  him."10  Among  medieval  theologians  there  was  a  general 

opinion  that  Jesus's  sacrifice  was  not  really  effective;  only  "a  few" 

were  saved  by  the  Savior's  death.  St.  Thomas  Aquinas  and  others 

claimed  the  vast  majority  of  people  were  still  doomed  to  eternal 

suffering  in  hell.11  Thus  the  theory  of  atonement  for  all  time  or  for  all 

humanity  was  actually  denied  by  the  same  church  that  propounded 

it  as  a  basis  for  worldly  power. 

1.  Hays,  188.  2.  Briffault  3, 100.  3.  Cumont,  O.R.R.P.,  113.  4.  Assyr.  &  Bab.  Lit,  394. 
5.  Graves,  CM.  1, 81.  6.  Lamusse,  208.  7.  j.E.  Harrison,  196-97;  Frazer,  G.B.,  670. 
8.  Budge,  GE.  2, 349.  9.  Waddell,  529,  531.  10.  Robinson,  138.  ll.Coulton,  19. 



"Cutter,"  the  third  of  the  Greek  trinity  of  Fates  (Moerae).  She  was 
the  Destroyer  whose  function  was  to  cut  the  thread  of  life  that  the  first 
sister  spun,  and  the  second  one  wove.  She  was  usually  depicted  as  an 
old  woman  carrying  a  pair  of  shears.  Like  Kali  the  Destroyer,  she  was 
also  worshipped  as  a  Goddess  in  her  own  right.  In  Parthia,  the 
"Virgin-Land,"  she  had  her  own  holy  city,  Atropatene.  Its  modern 
name  is  Azerbaijan.1 





The  cult  of  Attis  strongly  influenced  early  Christianity. 

Attis  accompanied  Cybele,  the  Great  Mother  of  the  Gods, 
brought  to  Rome  from  Phrygia  in  204  B.C.  They  were  established  in  a 
temple  on  the  Vatican  hill,  where  they  remained  for  six  centuries.1  At 
first  Attis  was  separated  from,  and  subordinated  to,  the  Goddess, 
whom  the  emperor  Augustus  regarded  as  the  Supreme  Mother  of 
Rome.  "The  Romans  tolerated  Attis  because,  maintaining  the  tradi- 
tion of  earlier  days,  they  continued  to  regard  Cybele  as  a  national 

Attis  was  a  son  of  the  Goddess's  earthly  incarnation,  the  virgin 
Nana,  who  miraculously  conceived  him  by  eating  an  almond  or  a 
pomegranate,  yonic  symbols  both.  Thus  he  was  a  typical  "god  without  a 
father,"  the  Virgin's  son.  He  grew  up  to  become  a  sacrificial  victim 
and  Savior,  slain  to  bring  salvation  to  mankind.  His  body  was  eaten  by 
his  worshippers  in  the  form  of  bread.3  He  was  resurrected  as  "The 
Most  High  God,  who  holds  the  universe  together."4  His  epiphany  was 
announced  with  the  words,  "Hail,  Bridegroom,  Hail,  new  Light."5 
Like  his  priests  he  was  castrated,  then  crucified  on  a  pine  tree,  whence 
his  holy  blood  poured  down  to  redeem  the  earth. 

Attis's  passion  was  celebrated  on  the  25th  of  March,  exactly  nine 
months  before  the  solstitial  festival  of  his  birth,  the  25th  of  Decem- 
ber. The  time  of  his  death  was  also  the  time  of  his  conception,  or 
re-conception.  To  mark  the  event  when  Attis  entered  his  mother  to 
beget  his  reincarnation,  his  tree-phallus  was  carried  into  her  sacred 
cavern.  Thus  the  virgin  mother  Nana  was  actually  the  Goddess 
herself:  she  who  was  called  Inanna  by  the  Sumerians,  Mari-Anna  by  the 
Canaanites,  Anna  Perenna  by  the  Sabines,  and  Nanna,  mother  of  the 
dying  god  Balder,  in  northern  Europe.6 

Christians  claimed  the  same  dates  for  the  conception  and  birth  of 
their  savior.  The  usual  quarrels  ensued.  The  Christians  resorted  to 
their  favorite  argument,  that  the  devil  had  established  pagan  Mysteries 
in  imitation  of  Christianity  before  there  was  a  Christianity.  Tertullian 

Tertullian  (Quintus 
Septimius  Florens  Ter- 
tullianus)  Influential 
early  Christian  writer 
and  father  of  the 
church,  ca.  155-220 
a.d.,  born  in  Car- 
thage of  pagan  parents. 


Attis  said,  "The  devil  by  the  mysteries  of  his  idols,  imitates  even  the  main 

parts  of  the  divine  mysteries."7 
^^^^^^^^^^^  Followers  of  Attis  eventually  lost  their  sacrificial  day  to  the  Chris- 

tians. Justinian  ruled  that  March  25  would  be  known  as  the  day  of 
the  Annunciation,  or  Lady  Day.  Naturally,  the  day  of  the  Annunciation 
was  the  day  of  Jesus's  conception,  so  that  he,  like  Attis,  could  be  born 
nine  months  later  at  the  winter  solstice,  as  were  all  gods  assimilated 
to  the  sun  and  called  Light  of  the  World.8 

March  25  was  also  the  day  when  Blessed  Virgin  Juno  miraculous- 
ly conceived  her  savior-son  Mars  by  eating  her  own  magic  lily,  which 
is  why  March  was  named  after  this  god  and  why  medieval  France  called 
Lady  Day  Notre  Dame  de  Mars.  The  date  was  officially  Christian- 
ized by  the  tenth  Council  of  Toledo  in  656  a.d.  as  the  Festival  of  the 
Mother  of  God.  But  its  symbol  remained  a  pagan  sign  of  the  yoni.9 
Mars  had  a  Phrygian  counterpart,  the  satyr  Marsyas,  likewise  hung  on  a 
tree,  and  likewise  a  son  of  Cybele.  It  was  said  that  he  and  Attis  were 
the  same  god.10 

The  day  of  Attis's  death  was  Black  Friday,  or  the  Day  of  Blood. 
His  image  was  carried  to  the  temple  and  bound  to  the  tree,  escorted 
by  "reed-bearers"  (cannophori)  with  the  reed  scepters  representing  re- 
generated phalli  and  new  fertility.11  During  the  ceremonies,  initiates 
castrated  themselves  in  imitation  of  the  castrated  god,  and  presented 
their  severed  genitals  to  the  Goddess  along  with  those  of  the  gelded 
bull  sacrificed  at  the  Taurobolium.12  All  these  male  remnants  were 
deposited  in  the  sacred  cave  of  the  Great  Mother.15 

The  god  died  and  was  buried.  He  descended  into  the  underworld. 
On  the  third  day  he  rose  again  from  the  dead.  His  worshippers  were 
told:  "The  god  is  saved;  and  for  you  also  will  come  salvation  from  your 
trials."14  This  day  was  the  Carnival  or  Hilaria,  also  known  as  the  Day 
of  Joy.  People  danced  in  the  streets  and  went  about  in  disguise, 
indulging  in  horseplay  and  casual  love  affairs. 15  This  was  the  Sun- 
day; the  god  arose  in  glory  as  the  solar  deity  of  a  new  season.  Christians 
ever  afterward  kept  Easter  Sunday  with  carnival  processions  derived 
from  the  mysteries  of  Attis.  Like  Christ,  Attis  arose  when  "the  sun 
makes  the  day  for  the  first  time  longer  than  the  night." 16 

Naassenes  of  the  3rd  century  a.d.  worshipped  Attis  as  a  syncretic 
mixture  of  deities.  One  of  their  hymns  said,  "Of  Attis  I  will  sing,  of 
Rhea's  son,  not  sounding  his  praises  with  rolling  drums,  nor  on  the  reed, 
nor  with  the  roar  of  Ida's  Curetes,  but  as  the  Muse  of  Phoebus  on  the 
lyre  I  will  blend  the  strains.  Euhoi,  Euhan,  he  is  Pan,  he  is  Bacchus,  he 
is  the  shepherd  of  the  white  constellations." 17 

Inscriptions  of  the  4th  century  gave  Attis  the  title  of  Menotyrannus, 
from  Greek  tyrannos,  "lord,"  plus  Men  or  Mennu,  Osiris  as  the 
resurrected,  ithyphallic  moon-bull,  "the  Lord  Who  Impregnates  His 
Mother." 18 


Pagans  sometimes  celebrated  the  Hilaria  at  the  end  of  their  Holy 
Week,  bringing  it  to  April  1  and  the  carnival  of  the  April  Fool,  or 
Carnival  King,  or  Prince  of  Love,  all  originally  synonymous  with  Attis. 
He  was  also  identified  with  Green  George  of  the  old  Roman  Palilia, 
honored  on  Easter  Monday  with  sacrificial  hanging  of  the  god's  effigy 
on  a  sacred  tree.  People  of  the  18th  century  still  said  the  25th  of 
March  used  to  be  New  Year's  Day,  while  April  1  stood  at  the  "octaves" 
terminating  the  sacred  week.19 

Some  Christians  claimed  Jesus's  crucifixion  took  place  on  April  1, 
so  the  Fool  of  the  April  Fool's  Day  processions  became  Christ 
carrying  his  cross  and  enduring  the  mockery  of  the  mob.  But  the  spring 
Holy  Week  was  not  really  Christian.  Its  origin  was  a  universal  Indo- 
European  tradition  of  extreme  antiquity,  probably  traceable  to  the  Holi 
festivals  of  India  which  celebrated  the  rebirth  of  spring  with  joyous 

1.  Clodd,  79.  2.  Vermaseren,  177-78.  3.  Guignebert,  73.  4.  Graves,  W.G.,  367. 
5.  Angus,  136.  6.  Larousse,  268-69.  7.  Robertson,  112.  8.  Ashe,  82. 
9.  Brewster,  144.  10.  Graves,  G.M.  1,  77.  11.  Cumont,  A.R.G.R.,  56. 
12.  Guignebert,71-72.  13.  Vermaseren,  111.  14.  Cumont,  A.R.G.R.,  59. 
15.  Frazer.G.B.,  405-7.  16.  Vermaseren,  182.  17.  Vermaseren,  182. 
18.  Cumont,  O.R.R.P.,  61.  19.  Hazlitt,  13,  548.  20.  de  Lys,  360. 


Green  George  Spirit  of 
spring  descended  from 
the  hero-sacrifice  of 
the  Roman  Palilia.  In 
Balkan  countries 
during  the  Middle  Ages 
and  later,  he  was  rep- 
resented by  a  youth 
dressed  in  green 
branches  and  symboli- 
cally "sacrificed." 


Roman  month  of  the  oracular  Juno  Augusta.  Oracles  were  augustae 
in  the  semi-matriarchal  "republican"  period.  The  term  was  later  applied 
to  male  priests,  then  to  emperors.  An  "august"  man  was  one  filled 
with  the  spirit  of  the  Goddess.1  Augur,  the  old  name  for  a  seer,  meant 
"increaser,"  once  referring  to  the  mother-priestess.2  The  first  emper- 
or Augustus  took  his  title  from  the  Great  Mother  of  the  Gods, 
presumed  incarnate  in  his  wife  Livia  Augusta.  Their  house  stood 
opposite  the  temple  of  the  Great  Mother,  whom  Augustus  honored  as 
the  national  Goddess.3 

Among  European  pagans  the  month  of  August  began  with  one  of 
the  Goddess's  major  festivals,  Lammas  Eve,  from  Hlaf-mass,  "the 
Feast  of  Bread."  The  secret  worship  of  Ops,  Ceres,  Demeter,  or  Juno 
Augusta  continued  throughout  the  Middle  Ages  in  the  rites  ad- 
dressed to  the  Lammas  corn-mother  who  ruled  the  harvest-month. 
"For  a  seventeenth-century  Scot  to  say  'he  (or  she)  was  born  in 
August',  was  to  imply  high  praise  and  recognition  of  a  well-skilled 
person'.  August,  the  month  of  the  Lammas  towers,  the  month  when 
the  Irish  dancers  moved  around  the  female  effigy,  was  the  right  time  for 
birth.  Then  the  Lammas  moon  was  at  work,  on  behalf  of  new 
children,  and  the  new  harvest."4 

Churchmen  repeatedly  tried  to  obliterate  the  Goddess's  connec- 
tions with  her  harvest  month.  It  was  officially  claimed  that  August 


Aurora  had  been  named  for  St.  Augustine — "prophetically"  of  course,  since 

Azazel  the  name  had  been  given  to  the  month  centuries  before  Augustine 

^ ^___^      was  born.5 

1.  J.H.  Smith,  C.G.,  5.  2.  Rose,  233.  3.  Vermaseren,  83, 86, 126. 
4.  Dames,  164-65.  5.  Brewster,  349. 


"Dawn,"  a  Roman  name  for  Eos,  or  Mater  Matuta,  the  morning- 
mother  of  the  sun.  In  the  classic  pattern,  her  child  was  also  her  consort, 
a  sacred  king  sometimes  entitled  Tithonius,  "husband  of  the  Queen 
of  Day."  She  made  him  immortal  but  forgot  to  give  him  eternal  youth; 
so  he  became  gray  and  shrunken,  finally  becoming  a  cicada,  the 
symbol  of  the  sun's  rebirth  when  cicadas  hailed  his  growing  warmth.1 
1.  Graves,  G.M.  1,150;W.G.,  117. 


"Apple-isle,"  the  Celtic  paradise  across  the  western  sea,  where  gods 
and  heroes  were  fed  on  the  apples  of  immortality.  Cognate  with 
Hindus'  Jambu  Island,  Egyptians'  Land  of  the  Westerners,  Norse- 
men's Faeroisland  or  Fairyland.  See  Paradise. 


Sanskrit  word  for  the  same  soul  reincarnated  in  a  new  body;  the 
opposite  of  atavism,  which  meant  harking  back  to  an  earlier,  primitive 
state  of  being. 

Axis  Mundi 

"Axle  of  the  World."  Ancient  cosmologies  pictured  the  earth  as  a 
globe  spinning  on  a  shaft  with  the  ends  fastened  at  the  celestial  poles. 
The  axis  mundi  penetrated  the  earth  at  its  center,  hence  it  was 
usually  associated  with  the  cosmic  lingam  or  male  principle.  Each 
nation  placed  this  hub  at  the  center  of  its  own  territory.  See 


"God's  Messenger,"  the  deity  who  received  sacrificial  goats  on  the 
Jewish  Day  of  Atonement  (Yom  Kippur,  New  Year).  Azazel  was  not 
originally  Hebraic,  but  Syrian.1  Some  rabbinical  writings  called  him  Azel, 


a  subversive  angel  who  stole  magic  secrets  from  God  and  gave  Azazel 

them  to  Eve,  thus  bringing  about  the  enlightenment  of  humanity  at  the 

cost  of  God's  wrath.  Moslems  sometimes  gave  Azazel's  name  to  the  mmm^^^hh^hm 

rebellious  angel  who  opposed  Allah,  though  this  personage  was  often 

called  Iblis,  or  Shaytan  (Satan).2 

During  the  Middle  Ages,  Azazel  was  adopted  by  Christian  de- 
monologists  and  made  one  of  the  leaders  in  the  pantheon  of  hell.  His 
name  was  often  cited  by  exorcists  as  that  of  an  active,  lively  possessor, 
befitting  his  ancient  function  as  a  Hermetic-style  "messenger." 

1.  Cumont,  O.R.R.P.,  1 13.  2.  Keightley,  25. 



i    JJ  ID 


baal,  in  characteristic 
dress  and  stance. 
Phoenician  bronze,  15th 
to  14th  century  b.c. 

Ceremony  of  baptism  in 
York,  Pennsylvania, 
in  1799.  Drawing  by  folk 
artist  Lewis  Miller 


One  of  the  many 
versions  of  the 
buddha.  Temple  of 
Borubudur,  Giava, 


The  serpent  god  Le- 
viathan (or  Levi),  the 
elephant  god  Behe- 
moth, and  the  ass  god 
Pales  who  gave  his 
name  to  Palestine,  all 
emanated  from  the 
Far  East,  as  did  Abra- 
ham or  "Father 
Brahm,"  apparently 
based  on  Brahma. 
The  Greeks'  Adonis 
was  the  Semitic  Ado- 
nai,  "the  Lord." 


"The  Lord"  among  ancient  Semites;  consort  of  Mother  Astarte, 
whose  favors  he  shared  with  Yamm,  the  Lord  of  Death  (from  Hindu 
Yama).  Every  god  was  a  Baal.  The  title  was  introduced  into  Ireland 
via  Phoenician  colonies  in  Spain,  and  became  the  Irish  Bel  or  Bial,  Lord 

Old  Testament  Jews  worshipped  many  baalim  as  past  or  present 
consorts  of  the  Goddess  Zion  (Hosea  2:2-8).  Yahweh  shared  these  other 
gods'  temples  for  a  long  time,  until  his  priesthood  managed  to  isolate  his 
cult  and  suppress  the  others.2  Some  of  the  baalim  revered  in  Israel 
were:  Sin,  the  moon  god  of  Sinai;  Molech  (Melek),  the  "king"  and  sun 
god  of  Tyre;  Horus,  the  Egyptian  Golden  Calf  whose  image  was 
made  by  Aaron;  Baal-Peor,  a  phallic  "Lord  of  the  Cleft"  (or  yoni); 
Nehushtan,  the  "fiery  flying  serpent"  of  lightning,  made  by  Moses  (2 
Kings  18:4);  Chemosh,  the  Babylonian  sun  god  Shamash,  incarnate  in 
Samson  (or  Shams-on,  the  sun);  Melchizedek,  the  god  of  Salem; 
Etana,  or  Ethan,  the  Canaanite  Eytan  who  "went  up  to  heaven";  Baal- 
Rimmon,  the  Lord  of  the  Pomegranate  impersonated  by  Solomon; 
Baal-Berith,  the  Canaanites'  "God  of  the  Covenant";  El,  or  Elias,  the 
sun  god  Helios  to  whom  Jesus  called  from  the  cross;  Joseph,  Jacob, 
and  Israel,  who  were  not  men  but  tribal  gods.2 

Since  nearly  all  gods  were  sacrificial  victims  in  their  earthly 
incarnations,  Baal  may  have  been  derived  from  Sanskrit  Bala  or  Bali, 
a  sacrificial  offering.5  The  Semitic  melek,  "king,"  came  from  Phoeni- 
cian molk,  a  votive  offering,  because  early  kings  were  not  only  gods 
but  also  victims.4  (See  Kingship.) 

Baal  was  often  used  as  the  title  of  a  mortal  king,  especially  one 
whose  reign  might  be  terminated  by  a  ritual  sacrifice.  In  the  time  of 
Esarhaddon  of  Assyria,  the  king  of  Tyre  was  named  Baal,  or  "God."  In 
the  10th  century  B.C.,  kings  of  Byblos  bore  names  like  Yehimilk 
(God-king),  Abibaal  (Father-god),  and  Baalshamen  (Heavenly  Father).5 

Baal  became  a  favorite  Christian  name  for  a  devil,  because  biblical 
writers  denounced  all  the  baalim  indiscriminately  as  devils  (2  Chroni- 
cles 1 1:15;  1  Corinthians  10:20;  Revelation  9:20).  Still,  the  northern 
European  cognate  Bal,  Bel,  Bael,  or  Balder  retained  the  affection  of 
commoners.6  Baal  was  still  the  patron  of  the  Beltain  feast  in  18th- 
century  Scotland.  To  make  the  crops  thrive,  Scandinavians  burned 
his  effigy  at  midsummer  in  "Balder's  Balefires"  throughout  Denmark, 
Norway,  and  Sweden.7 

1.  Joyce,  279.  2.  Reinach,  201;  Frazer,G.B.,  341.  3.  O'Flaherty,  340. 

4.  Gaster,  588.  5.  Pritchard,  22-23.  6.  Hallet,  336.  7.  Frazer,  G.B.,  717,  769. 


"Lady,"  the  feminine  equivalent  of  Baal;  common  Middle-Eastern 
title  of  the  Goddess.  Also  rendered  Belit,  Belit-ili,  or  Beltis. 



Baal-Berith  Baal-Berith 

"God  of  the  Covenant,"  Canaanite  lawgiving  deity  represented  by 

two  stone  tablets  in  the  temple  at  Shechem,  later  taken  over  by  Hebraic        ■* 

invaders  and  transferred  to  the  cult  of  Yahweh.  Commandments  on 

the  tablets  were  based  on  the  Babylonian  Code  of  Hammurabi,  received 

by  the  Babylonian  king  from  the  god  Shamash.1  These,  in  turn,  were 

based  on  the  tablets  of  law  given  the  first  god  by  his  Great  Mother, 


Though  both  tablets  and  title  were  claimed  by  the  Judeo-Christian 
God,  the  name  of  Baal-Berith  was  attached  to  a  devil,  often  invoked 
by  medieval  authors  on  magic,  who  were  apparently  unaware  that  they 
called  upon  the  God  of  the  Covenant.  Weyer  placed  Baal-Berith  in  a 
position  suiting  his  ancient  function,  however.  In  the  royal  hierarchy  of 
hell  he  was  Minister  of  Treaties.3  Though  churchmen  had  small  use 
for  the  heretic  Weyer,  yet  they  used  this  precedent  to  assign  the  de- 
monic pact  to  Baal-Berith.  In  1335a  witch  named  Catherine  Delort 
was  burned  for  signing  a  pact  with  "the  demon  Berit."4 

1.  Hooke,  M.E.M*  142,  147.  2.  Assyr.  &  Bab.  Lit,  287. 
3.  Waite,  B.C.M.,  186-87.  4.  J.B.  Russell,  184. 


Goat- Lord,  a  Semitic  name  of  Pan,  ancestor  of  the  tribe  of  Gad;  also 
identified  with  Azazel,  who  received  annual  scapegoat-sacrifices.  He 
was  worshipped  in  a  cave  at  the  source  of  the  Jordan.  It  was  said  he  was 
fathered  by  Hermes,  and  after  death  he  ascended  to  heaven  to  become 
the  constellation  Capricorn,  the  Goat.1 
1.  Graves,  W.G.,  230,  391. 


Canaanite  Lord  of  the  Hunt,  slain  by  priestesses  of  Asherah,  who 
buried  him  in  a  bog  (earth-womb)  and  resurrected  him  after  seven  years, 
the  standard  term  of  kingship  in  primitive  Palestine.1  He  was  mated  to 
Asherah  as  Lady  of  the  Pomegranate  at  Hadad-Rimmon,  and  his 
name  was  borne  by  two  biblical  kings,  Ben-hadad  and  Hadad-ezer 
(Zechariah  12:11). 

1.  Hooke,  M.E.M.,  87. 



"Lord  of  the  Brazier,"  the  Tyrian  Heracles  who  died  by  fire. 
Egyptians  called  him  Ammon.  At  his  cult  center  in  Carthage,  "men 
who  were  gods  of  light"  were  said  to  have  died  in  sacrificial  fires  as 




late  as  200  a.d.1  In  Elam,  the  god  was  Haman,  slain  as  a  surrogate  for 
Marduk  (Jewish  Mordecai).  One  version  of  his  sacrificial  dramas 
appears  in  the  Book  of  Esther,  and  eucharistic  eating  of  his  body  is  still 
performed  through  the  Purim  cakes  called  hamantaschen. 
1.  H.Smith,  136. 


"Lord  of  the  Cleft,"  Phoenician  phallic  god  coupled  with  Asherah's 
yonic  "cleft."  Israelites  adopted  his  cult  and  celebrated  sexual  rites  in  his 
honor  in  the  tabernacle,  until  Yahweh's  reformers  killed  the  cele- 
brants (Numbers  25).  Baal-Peor's  symbol  was  a  palm  tree  between  two 
stones,  a  male-genital  symbol  recalling  the  phallic  god  of  Egypt,  Osiris- 
Min,  whose  worshippers  prayed  to  achieve  erections  "like  a  palm 
tree." ' 


var.  Beelzebub 


"Lord  of  Flies,"  a  god  of  Ekron  in  Philistia,  to  whose  oracle  King 
Ahaziah  of  Israel  sent  messengers  in  quest  of  healing  magic  (2  Kings 
1:2).  Like  Hermes  Psychopomp,  his  title  meant  the  same  as  Lord  of 
Death  or  Conductor  of  Souls,  because  flies  were  common  forms  taken 
by  souls  in  search  of  rebirth.  Mothers  of  many  mythic  heroes 
miraculously  conceived  them  by  swallowing  their  souls  in  fly  shape.1 
Etain,  legendary  Irish  queen  married  to  Ochy  Airem,  and  Cu 
Chulainn  are  examples  from  popular  Celtic  myth. 

The  Pharisees  called  Baal-Zebub  a  "prince  of  devils,"  apparently 
because  it  was  thought  he  could  cure  people  possessed  by  lesser  devils 
(Matthew  12:24).  One  or  two  passing  references  to  this  "prince  of 
devils"  in  the  New  Testament  sufficed  to  establish  Beelzebub  as  an 
alternative  name  for  Satan,  and  flies  as  diabolic  manifestations  in 
medieval  Christendom. 

St.  Bernard  once  exorcised  a  cloud  of  flies,  which  instantly 
dropped  dead  at  the  sound  of  his  holy  words  and  had  to  be  shoveled 
out  of  his  church  in  heaps.2 

Fly-devils  were  still  firmly  believed  in  during  the  late  16th  century. 
When  a  young  Viennese  girl  suffered  from  cramps  in  1 583,  Jesuit 
priests  diagnosed  her  case  as  demonic  possession.  After  eight  weeks  of 
exorcisms,  they  claimed  to  have  expelled  12,652  demons  from  the  girl. 
Her  70-year-old  grandmother  was  accused  of  harboring  these  demons 
as  flies  in  glass  jars.  The  old  lady  was  dragged  at  a  horse's  tail  to  the 
stake  and  burned  alive.3 

1.  Spence,  95-96.  2.  White  2, 109, 113.  3.  Robbins,  395;  Cavendish,  P.E.,  234. 


Babel,  Tower  of 

Ba-Bel,  "God's  Gate,"  was  the  Babylonian  heaven-mountain  or 
ziggurat  where  the  god  descended  from  the  sky  to  the  Holy  of  Holies, 
the  genital  locus  of  his  mating  with  Mother  Earth.1 

The  biblical  story  of  the  Tower  of  Babel  "reflects  the  attitude  of 
nomads  entering  the  fertile  plains  of  the  Delta,  beholding  with 
wonder  and  dread  the  soaring  towers  of  Babylonian  cities,  and  despising 
the  multitudes  speaking  all  the  various  tongues  of  the  ancient  Near 
East."2  To  the  ears  of  the  strangers,  diversity  of  languages  was  "bab- 
ble," a  word  derived  from  Ba-Bel  or  its  city  of  Bab-ilani,  named  after 
its  own  man-made  Holy  Mountain.5 

Babylon's  famous  Hanging  Gardens  occupied  the  seven  stages  of 
the  ziggurat,  to  create  a  Paradise  like  that  of  Hindu  gods:  "Seven 
divisions  of  the  world  ...  on  which  the  seven  separate  cities  and  palaces 
of  the  gods  are  built,  amid  green  woods  and  murmuring  streams,  in 
seven  circles  placed  one  above  another."  The  ziggurat  restored  by 
Nebuchadnezzar  was  a  "temple  of  the  seven  spheres  of  the  world."  It 
helped  established  universal  belief  in  the  seven  heavens,  corresponding 
to  the  seven  planetary  spheres.  Christians  and  Moslems  also  adopted 
this  view  of  the  cosmos.  The  Koran  says  Allah  made  seven  heavens  and 
seven  underground  spheres,  the  seven  hells.4 

When  ziggurats  were  abandoned  and  became  ruinous,  their  mud- 
brick  construction  crumbling,  later  nomadic  peoples  assumed  the 
gods  were  angered  by  the  pride  of  the  elder  races  and  broke  down  their 
heaven-aspiring  constructions.  The  Babel  myth  is  found  all  over  the 
world,  including  India  and  Mexico.  It  was  familiar  in  the  Greek  story  of 
the  giants  who  piled  up  mountains  to  reach  heaven.  Hindus  said  it 
was  not  a  tower  but  a  great  tree  that  grew  up  to  heaven,  angering 
Brahma,  who  cut  off  its  branches  and  threw  them  down.  From  each 
branch  grew  a  separate  wata  tree  that  gave  humanity  another  separate 

Berossus  said  the  Babylonian  heaven-mountain  was  destroyed  by 
winds,  which  blew  a  diversity  of  tongues  among  men.  The  first  part 
of  this  premise  was  certainly  not  irrational,  since  drying  and  wind- 
erosion  were  major  causes  of  the  destruction  of  mud-brick  structures. 
Berossus's  story  surfaced  many  centuries  later  in  the  Armenian  myth  of 
the  holy  mountain  built  by  giants.  It  was  blown  down  by  winds,  while 
"unknown  words  were  at  the  same  time  blown  about  among  men."6 

The  same  story  was  told  in  the  western  hemisphere.  Choctaw 
Indians  said  their  own  ancestors  piled  up  stones  to  build  a  mountain 
that  would  reach  heaven,  but  it  was  blown  down  by  winds,  whereupon 
people  found  themselves  speaking  different  languages.7  In  Central 
America  the  heaven-reaching  pyramid  of  Cholula  was  built  by  giants  un- 
der the  leadership  of  Xelhua.  The  angry  gods  broke  it  down  with  light- 
ning and  sent  different,  mutually  incomprehensible  languages  to  earth.8 

1.  White  2, 170.  2.Hcx)ke,M.E.M.,  138.  3.  Eliade,  M.E.R.,  14. 
4.  Lethaby,  24,  124-25,  129.  5.  White  2,  173.  6.  Doane,  35. 
7.  Farb,  W.P.,  309.  8.  White  2, 173. 

Babel,  Tower  of 

Berossus  Chaldean 
priest  of  Bel-Marduk, 
3rd  century  B.C.;  au- 
thor of  a  history  of 
Babylonia  and  Assyr- 
ia, written  in  Greek. 




Roman  name  for  the  sacrificial  god  Dionysus;  also  known  as  Bac- 
chus Liber,  or  Father  Liber,  consort  of  the  Goddess  Libera.  He  was 
worshipped  as  the  orgiastic  deity  of  wine  and  vintage-festivals  wherev- 
er wine  grapes  were  grown  throughout  the  Roman  empire.  The  town  of 
Bacharach  in  the  Rhineland  was  named  for  him.  Even  in  the  20th 
century,  his  influence  was  still  supposed  to  ripen  the  grapes,  and  omens 
were  taken  for  the  vintage  from  his  ancient  stone  altar  on  a  river 



Sacred  stone  containing  a  deity,  the  Greek  baitulos,  Hebrew  beth-el, 
"house  of  the  holy  one."  Two  Goddess-wives  of  Jehovah  in  the  5th 
century  B.C.  were  called  Ashima  Baetyl  and  Anatha  Baetyl.1  The 
Bible  speaks  of  Anatha's  baetyl  as  Beth-Anath  (Joshua  19:38).  Medieval 
Cathari  still  held  that  God  had  two  wives,  named  Collam  and 

1.  Graves,  W.G.,  405.  2.  J.B.  Russell,  125. 

Dough  victims  The 

usual  substitute,  every- 
where in  the  world, 
for  what  used  to  be  can- 
nibalistic offerings  in 
primitive  times.  Some- 
times the  offerings 
were  man-shaped  cakes, 
supposed  to  resemble 
a  real  man  in  the  eyes  of 
the  deity.  Sometimes 
they  were  ordinary 
cakes  marked  with  a 
symbol  of  the  sacrifice, 
like  the  Christian 
host  (from  Latin  hostia, 


Norwegian  name  for  the  god  Bel,  or  Baal,  sacrificed  as  a  son  of 
Father  Odin.  He  descended  into  the  womb  of  Mother  Hel,  the 
Underworld.  At  doomsday,  Ragnarok,  he  would  return  to  earth  in 
Second  Coming.  He  would  establish  a  new  earth  and  a  new  heaven 
after  the  passing  of  the  old  destructive  gods  and  their  world. 

Balder's  effigy  is  still  burned  at  Beltain  fires  in  Scotland  and 
Ireland.  Scandinavians  knew  them  as  Balder's  Balefires.  His  was  the 
spirit  inhabiting  the  Beltain  cake,  an  effigy  of  god-flesh  like  the  Christian 
host,  sometimes  man-shaped  like  the  symbolic  dough  "victims"  of 
the  Far  East.1  Such  pagan  hosts  probably  gave  rise  to  the  living 
Gingerbread  Man  of  the  fairy  tale.2 

Like  Heracles,  Siegfried,  and  other  solar  heros,  Balder  stood  for 
the  idea  of  regeneration  through  cremation.  His  funeral  was  the 
Viking's  dissolution  in  both  fire  and  water;  he  was  sent  to  sea  on  a 
burning  ship.  This  was  arranged  by  a  Goddess  called  Hyrrokkin, 
"Fire-shrunk,"  one  of  the  Elder  Deities.  She  was  a  former  giantess  who 
lost  her  stature  by  passing  through  a  magic  fire.3 

1.  Wadddl.531.  2.Frazer,G.B.,679,716.  3.  Hollander,  51. 

Balkis  Balkis 

The  Queen  of  Sheba,  according  to  the  Koran.  Solomon  stole  his  Baphomet 

throne  from  Queen  Balkis,  the  Moslems  said.1  Her  name  was  also  ihhh^h^h 

rendered  Bilqis,  or  Balqama.  The  temple  of  the  queens  of  Sheba  at 

Marib  was  Mahram  Bilqis:  Balkis  the  Moon-Mother.  Solomon  was 

crowned  by  Bath-sheba,  called  his  "mother"  in  the  Bible;  but  her 

name  means  Daughter  of  Sheba,  so  it's  possible  that  Solomon  did 

receive  his  throne  from  a  Sheban  queen.  See  Solomon  and  Sheba. 



From  Gaelic  bean-sidhe,  "woman  of  the  fairy-mounds."  The  Irish  ban- 
shee was  a  ghostly  White  Lady  whose  cry  brought  death  to  her 
hearers.1  In  Brittany  she  was  the  Bandrhude,  or  bane-druid,  or  dryad  of 
death.2  She  was  identified  with  Macha,  Queen  of  Phantoms,  third 
person  of  the  Morrigan's  trinity.  That  is,  she  was  the  Crone  form  of  the 
Goddess,  who  summoned  her  children  to  death.3 

Some  said  the  shriek  of  the  banshee  was  really  the  nocturnal  call  of 
the  loon,  a  bird  sacred  to  the  Moon-goddess  Luna,  as  its  name 

Like  the  Vila  or  death-priestess  of  central  Europe,  and  the  Dakini 
of  the  Far  East,  the  banshee  could  be  as  benevolent  as  the  sacred 
women  who  used  to  sing  the  dying  gently  to  sleep.  "When  the  banshee 
loves  those  she  calls,  the  song  is  a  low,  soft  chant  giving  notice, 
indeed,  of  the  proximity  of  death  but  with  a  tenderness  of  tone  that 
reassures  the  one  destined  to  die  and  comforts  the  survivors;  rather  a 
welcome  than  a  warning."4  To  others,  she  came  like  a  bad  death,  full  of 

1.  Goodrich,  177.  2.  Baring-Gould,  C.M.M.A.,  493.  3.  Rees,  36. 
4.  Pepper  &  Wilcock,  275. 


Bisexual  idol  or  talking  head  allegedly  worshipped  by  the  Knights 
Templar  when  they  were  accused  of  heresy  in  the  14th  century. 
Several  derivations  of  the  name  Baphomet  have  been  suggested. 
Some  said  it  was  Arabic  abu-fihamat,  "Father  of  Wisdom,"  the  old  title 
of  an  oracular  head.1  Some  said  it  was  a  corruption  of  Mohammed. 
Some  traced  it  to  Baphe  Meteos,  "baptism  of  Metis,"  that  is,  of  the 
Gnostic  Goddess  as  Lady  of  Wisdom.  It  was  a  name  well  known 
among  Gnostic  sects  in  the  east.2  Because  Baphomet  was  supposed  to 
be  the  object  of  the  Templars'  "devil  worship,"  it  or  he  or  she  was 


Baptism  pictured  with  the  common  devilish  attributes:  hoofs,  a  goat's  face,  both 

male  and  female  genitals,  etc. 

^^^^_^^^_  1 .  Shah,  225.2.  Knight,  S.L.,  202. 


In  418  a.d.,  a  Catholic  church  council  decided  that  every  human 
child  is  born  demonic  as  a  result  of  its  sexual  conception,  thus  automati- 
cally damned  unless  baptized.1  During  a  Catholic  baptismal 
ceremony  the  priest  still  addresses  the  baby,  "I  exorcise  thee,  thou 
unclean  spirit. . . .  Hear  thy  doom,  O  Devil  accursed,  Satan  ac- 
cursed!"2 The  exorcism  is  euphemistically  described  as  "a  means  to 
remove  impediments  to  grace  resulting  from  the  effects  of  original  sin 
and  the  power  of  Satan  over  fallen  nature."3  But  it  is  obvious  from  the 
folk  belief  still  widespread,  that  the  church's  teaching  was  that  every 
newborn  infant  before  baptism  belonged  to  the  devil.4  St.  Augustine's 
doctrine  of  original  sin  laid  the  foundation  for  this  idea,  and  Tertul- 
lian  said  every  baby  is  born  evil;  its  soul  is  "unclean"  and  "actively 
sinful"  before  baptism.5  Medieval  theologians  held  that  any  infant  still 
in  the  womb  is  doomed  to  eternal  damnation.6  The  Oedipal  jealousies 
of  men  apparently  developed  these  ideas,  since  few  women  would 
have  pictured  babies  screaming  in  an  eternity  of  torture  in  hellfire, 
simply  because  no  priest  had  sprinkled  them  with  water  before  they 

Indeed,  priests  refused  to  baptize  a  child  within  forty  days  of  its 
birth,  for  both  mother  and  infant  were  considered  impure  (hence  too 
dangerous  for  priests  to  touch)  during  that  period.  "An  unbaptized 
child,  as  well  as  a  woman  between  childbirth  and  churching,  was 
designated  as  heathen."7  The  real  reason  for  this  "heathenism"  appears 
in  numerous  folk  beliefs:  it  was  the  birth  magic  of  the  ancient 
Goddess  that  claimed  both  women  and  their  infants  in  the  performance 
of  her  Mysteries.  In  the  north  it  is  still  said  that  children  dying 
unbaptized  go  to  Frau  Holda,  or  Hel,  or  Perchta,  the  underground 
Mother.8  In  the  Hebrides,  the  Goddess's  protective  ritual  is  still  used 
to  preserve  children  during  the  perilous  pre-baptismal  period:  a  torch  is 
daily  carried  around  the  cradle  as  in  old  pre-Christian  custom.9  Some 
traditional  ballads  deny  the  Catholic  doctrine  that  women  dying  in 
childbed  or  infants  dying  unbaptized  must  go  to  hell;  they  claim, 
rather,  that  such  individuals  pass  into  a  pagan  heaven.  Mexican  peasants 
still  say  they  go  to  "a  place  of  delight  in  the  temple  of  the  sun." 10 

Thus,  paganism  was  kinder  to  infants  and  their  mothers  than 
Christianity,  so  that  theologians  often  felt  called  upon  to  explain 
God's  apparent  cruelty  in  allowing  infants  to  die  unbaptized,  so  con- 
demning them  before  they  had  a  chance  for  salvation.  In  the  16th 
and  17th  centuries,  churchmen  insisted  that  God's  cruelty  was  perfectly 
just.  Said  Martin  Del  Rio,  S.J.:  "If,  as  is  not  uncommon,  God  permits 


children  to  be  killed  before  they  have  been  baptized,  it  is  to  prevent  their  Barabbas 

committing  in  later  life  those  sins  which  would  make  their  damnation  Barbara,  Saint 

more  severe.  In  this,  God  is  neither  cruel  nor  unjust,  since,  by  the  mere       ^^^^^^^^^^ 
fact  of  original  sin,  the  children  have  already  merited  death."  n 

It  was  customary  to  refuse  baptism  altogether  to  those  thought  to 
have  been  conceived  out  of  wedlock,  or  sinfully.  American  church- 
men often  refused  to  baptize  children  born  on  Sunday,  because  it  was 
thought  children  were  always  born  on  the  same  day  of  the  week  as 
their  conception,  and  marital  relations  on  Sunday  were  forbidden.12 

Modern  theologians  have  trouble  explaining  why  baptism  should 
be  necessary.  Few  educated  parents  seriously  believe  their  infants  are 
doomed  to  eternal  torture  unless  splashed  with  a  little  water  in  a  church. 
The  biblical  "fall"  that  provided  the  original  rationale  has  long  since 
been  relegated  to  the  realm  of  myth.13  The  primitive  notion  of  the 
public  name-giving  ritual  seems  to  be  all  that  is  left  to  justify  the 
formalities:  no  more  than  an  excuse  for  people  to  dress  up  and  get 
together,  to  celebrate  a  new  life  in  the  clan.  Perhaps  it  should  be 
remembered  that  this  function  was  once  the  exclusive  concern  of 
mothers  and  Goddesses. 

1.  H.  Smith,  238.  2.  de  Givry,  157.  3.  Encyc.  Brit,  "Exorcism." 
4.  Gifford,  51.  5.  Tennant,  333.  6.  de  Voragine,  585.  7.  Wimberly,  372. 
8.  Miles,  242.  9.  Elworthy,  65.  10.  Wimberly,  p.  409-10.  11.  Robbins,  123. 
12.  Murstein,  319.  13.  Campbell,  F.W.G.,  207. 


'Son  of  the  Father,"  released  from  prison  in  Jesus's  place,  according 
to  Luke  23:18.  But  Barabbas  was  another  title  of  a  sacred  king,  thus 
some  scholars  believe  it  was  applied  to  Jesus  himself,  when  he  was 
"released"  from  the  protection  of  Rome  and  handed  over  to  Jewish 
priests  for  their  Passover  sacrifice.  See  Jesus  Christ. 

Barbara,  Saint 

Sancta  Barbara,  "the  Divine  Barbarian,"  a  loosely  Christianized 
pagan  Goddess  in  her  sacred  mountain,  either  the  Venusberg,  the 
Horselberg,  or  the  Round  Mountain  near  Pozzuoli  where  she  was 
worshipped  under  this  particular  title.  Within  the  mountain  dwelt  the 
heathen  dead,  "bewitched  men  and  women"  who  spent  their  time  in 
dancing,  lovemaking,  and  other  pleasures  until  the  day  of  doom.1  In 
other  words,  St.  Barbara  was  none  other  than  the  Fairy  Queen. 

As  a  spurious  martyr,  Barbara  followed  the  usual  pattern:  she  was  a 
beautiful  virgin,  tortured  by  her  evil  pagan  father  to  make  her 
renounce  Christianity.  She  remained  steadfast,  so  her  father  killed  her. 
Then  God  struck  the  father  dead  with  a  lightning  bolt,  unfortunately 
a  few  minutes  too  late  to  save  Barbara.  This  was  supposed  to  have  taken 


Bartholomew,  Saint  place  in  the  3rd  century  a.d.,  possibly  in  Rome,  or  perhaps  Egypt,  or 

Bassareus  maybe  Tuscany,  or  it  might  have  been  somewhere  else.  Accounts  vary. 

^^^^^^^^^^^^      The  legend  was  not  concocted  until  the  7th  century.2  By  a  rather 

curious  association,  St.  Barbara  was  invoked  to  provide  protection  from 


1.  Jung  &  von  Franz,  121.  2.  Atrwater,  57.  3.  Male,  271. 

Bartholomew,  Saint 

Pseudo-saint  based  on  a  sacred  king's  title:  Bar-Tholomeus,  "son  of 
Ptolemy."  He  was  inserted  into  the  Gospels  as  an  apostle,  but  hagiogra- 
phers  gave  him  a  different  origin.  He  was  called  a  son  of  "Prince 
Ptolomeus,"  crucified  in  Armenia,  and  flayed  like  the  satyr  Marsyas  (see 
Mars).  Icons  showed  him  holding  a  moon-sickle,  the  sacrificial  knife 
of  the  Middle  East.1 

An  alternative  history  made  Bartholomew  a  missionary  to  India, 
where  he  overthrew  the  idols  of  the  oddly  non-Indian  deities  Astarte 
and  Baal-Berith.  With  many  miracles,  Bartholomew  converted  the 
king  of  that  country  to  Christianity,  but  the  king's  brother  was 
unaccountably  permitted  to  crucify,  flay,  and  behead  the  saint 

Spurious  relics  of  the  saint  were  installed  in  the  Roman  healing 
shrine  of  Asclepius,  which  was  taken  over  by  Christians  and  remained 
the  Hospital  of  San  Bartolommeo  up  to  the  20th  century.* 

1.  Brewster,  379.  2.  deVoragine,  481-83.  3.  Carter,  42. 


"King  Serpent,"  the  mythical  snake  of  the  poisonous  glance,  listed  as 
a  real  creature  in  European  bestiaries  up  to  the  1 8th  century.  Like  the 
Gorgon  head,  whose  glance  was  equally  poisonous,  the  basilisk  was 
closely  linked  with  women's  menstrual  blood.  As  the  serpent-haired 
Gorgon  head  represented  women's  "wise  blood"  and  guarded  men- 
strual mysteries  that  men  were  forbidden  to  behold,  so  there  was  a 
popular  medieval  belief  that  a  hair  taken  from  the  head  of  a  menstru- 
ating woman  and  buried  in  the  earth  would  turn  into  a  serpent  or 
basilisk.1  Superstitious  folk  supposed  that  all  the  serpents  on  the 
Gorgon's  head  were  basilisks,  which  derived  their  evil  eyes  from  her 
own  deadly  glance. 

l.Rawson.A.T.,  165-66. 


Lydian  fox  god,  a  totemic  form  of  Orpheus  or  Dionysus,  whose 
Maenads  were  sometimes  called  Bassarids  because  they  wore  fox 


skins.1  As  a  pagan  deity,  the  fox  became  the  popular  trickster-hero  of 
medieval  folklore,  where  he  appeared  as  Reynard  or  Renaud.  He  was 
actually  worshipped  in  Cologne  cathedral  and  in  Westphalia  in  the 
9th  century  a.d.2  See  Dog. 

1.  Lamusse,  160.  2.  Guerber,  L.M.A.,  162. 




Egyptian  cat  goddess,  mother  of  all  cats,  which  were  Egypt's  most 
sacred  animals.  Bast's  holy  city  Bubastis  was  said  to  possess  the  land's 
greatest  temple.  Herodotus  said  that  in  Egypt,  "All  cats  that  die  are 
carried  to  certain  sacred  houses,  where  being  first  embalmed,  they  are 
buried  in  the  city  of  Bubastis." '  The  Greeks  identified  Bast  with 
Artemis  or  Diana,  also  called  the  mother  of  cats,  and  claimed  the  great 
shrine  of  Bubastis  was  built  in  her  honor.2  The  cat's  legendary  nine 
lives  stemmed  from  Artemis  as  the  mother  of  the  nine  Muses,  corre- 
sponding to  the  Egyptian  Ennead  of  nine  primordial  deities.  See  Cat. 

1.  Budge,  G.E.  2, 61,  364.  2.  Herodotus,  106. 


Like  barley  grains  in  Greece,  beans  were  yonic  symbols  in  Rome,  as 
is  still  shown  by  the  Italian  slang  term  for  female  genitals,  fava,  "bean."  * 
Along  with  all  other  ancient  female-genital  symbols,  beans  were  cred- 
ited with  magic  power  to  impregnate,  because  they  enclosed  ancestral 
spirits,  the  manes,  born  in  dim  prehistory  of  the  Moon-mother  Mana. 
The  Pythagoreans  placed  a  taboo  on  eating  beans  because  of  their 
supposed  possession  of  spirits.  In  Rome,  each  paterfamilias  went 
through  an  annual  ceremony  of  exorcising  ancestral  spirits  by  throwing 
beans  behind  him  at  midnight,  nine  times  enjoining  the  manes  to 
leave  the  house.2 

Another  Roman  ceremony  on  the  twelfth  day  after  the  midwinter 
solstice  (Epiphany)  recalled  ancient  customs  of  choosing  a  sacred 
king.  It  was  called  the  Festival  of  Kings  Created  or  Elected  by  Beans, 
the  beans  evidently  representing  women,  the  choosing  carried  out  by 
drawing  black  or  white  beans.  Later,  dice  were  used,  and  a  ceremonial 
king-for-the-night  called  Basilicus  was  chosen  by  the  "Venus"  throw. 
The  ceremony  persisted  in  medieval  England,  where  the  Twelfth- 
Night  plum  cake  contained  one  bean,  and  the  man  who  received  the 
bean  was  declared  king  of  the  festival.3 

Some  overlapping  esoteric  meanings  of  beans  may  be  found  in  the 
Sanskrit  word  mudra,  "kidney  beans,"  also  "woman,"  and  a  "magical 
gesture,"  the  benevolent  spell  cast  by  a  Shakti.4  The  influx  of  Tantric 
symbols  into  medieval  Europe  probably  gave  rise  to  Jack's  beanstalk, 
resembling  the  Ladder  of  Heaven  in  that  it  was  a  soul-bridge:  "the  myth 


Beata  of  the  vine  that  once  joined  earth  and  sky,"  in  the  paradisal  time 

Behemoth  when  men  knew  the  way  to  heaven — or  thought  they  did.5 

^^^^^^^^^^  1.  Young,  74.  2.  Lamusse,  213.  3.  Ha/litt,  602.  4.  Bharati,  41.  5.  Eliade,  S.,  354. 


"Holy  woman,"  Spanish  term  for  a  white  witch,  often  a  hermitess 
distinguished  by  her  visions,  trances,  stigmata,  miraculous  cures,  etc. 
The  church  didn't  know  what  to  do  with  such  people.  Sometimes,  if 
they  became  famous  enough,  they  were  canonized  as  saints.  Sometimes 
they  were  persecuted  for  heresy  and  witchcraft. 


See  Baal-zebub. 


Biblical  name  of  the  Indian  elephant  god  Ganesha,  the  "Lord  of 
Hosts." '  His  title  was  adopted  by  the  Jewish  Jehovah,  during  the  period 
when  he  was  married  to  the  Virgin  Goddess  Anath,  or  Neith,  in  the 
temple  of  Elephantine  in  Egypt.  Jewish  mercenaries  stationed  there  wor- 
shipped the  elephant-headed,  virgin-born  Lord  of  Hosts  as  their  own 
Yaho  (or,  Yahweh).2  At  the  time,  the  Jewish  God  was  a  subordinate 
spouse  of  the  Goddess  who  was  hailed  as  "Queen  of  Heaven  and 
mistress  of  all  the  gods." 3 

The  same  Virgin  Goddess  was  the  mother,  as  well  as  the  bride,  of 
the  elephant  bull-god,  according  to  the  standard  myth  of  divine  incest 
created  by  identification  of  Father  and  Son.  In  India  the  mother  of 
Ganesha  was  Parvati,  virgin  form  of  Kali.  She  made  him  from  her 
own  "body-dew"  (menstrual  blood).  A  true  archetypal  son,  he  guarded 
her  "gate"  (yoni)  against  the  entrance  of  All-father  Shiva.  For  this 
Oedipal  offense  he  was  slain,  but  resurrected.4  Upon  the  same  virgin 
mother  under  her  other  name  of  Maya  (comparable  to  Mari,  the 
other  name  of  Anath),  he  begot  the  next  incarnation  of  the  Son  of  the 
Lord  of  Hosts:  Buddha,  the  Enlightened  One. 

The  elephant-god  was  not  forgotten  by  the  Jews,  but  he  was 
dissociated  from  the  later  concept  of  Yahweh,  and  diabolized.  He 
became  the  demon  Behemoth.  In  this  guise  he  appeared  in  medieval 
demonologies  and  grimoires,  still  wearing  the  elephant  head  of  Shiva- 

Yet  traces  of  the  earlier  divine  elephant  could  be  found  in  Jewish 
tradition.  Rabbinical  sources  said  the  Passover  feast  commemorated 
more  than  one  god.  The  lamb  stood  for  the  Firstborn.  The  fish 
represented  Leviathan,  the  original  wise  serpent-deity  of  Levites. 


The  hard-boiled  egg  represented  Ziz,  or  Aziz,  or  Azazel,  the  god  of 
atonement  sacrifices.  The  bread  stood  for  Behemoth.6 

1 .  Campbell,  Or.  M.,  307.  2.  Graves,  W.G.,  405.  3.  Ashe,  30. 
4.  Lamusse,  378.  5.  de  Givry,  137.  6.  Hazlitt,  345. 



Corinthian  hero,  tamer  of  the  Muses'  winged  horse  Pegasus.  Grow- 
ing too  proud  of  himself,  Bellerophon  tried  to  fly  to  heaven  on  Pegasus, 
and  was  cast  down  by  Zeus.  He  died  lame,  blind,  and  accursed. 


Thracian  name  for  the  Goddess  as  Destroyer,  the  crone  of  the 
waning  moon.1  Christian  authorities  adopted  her  into  the  pantheon  of 
the  underworld  as  a  she-demon. 

1.  Graves,  GM.  1,61. 

var.  Benthesicyme 

Benedict,  Saint 

An  ancient  shrine  of  the  sun  god  Apollo  on  Monte  Cassino  was  taken 
over  and  converted  into  a  Christian  monastery.  The  "St.  Benedict"  to 
whom  it  was  dedicated  was  really  Apollo  Benedictus,  the  "Good- 
speaker."  '  Even  Catholic  scholars  say  there  is  no  evidence  that  "St. 
Benedict"  was  ever  a  Christian  priest.  However,  his  legend  did 
assimilate  him  to  the  sun  god.  When  Benedict  prayed,  "the  whole  world 
seemed  to  be  gathered  into  one  sunbeam  and  brought  thus  before  his 

1.  Rose,  294.  2.  Attwater,  62. 


A  wearer  of  the  "bear  sark"  or  bearskin  shirt;  a  Nordic  warrior 
dedicated  to  the  Goddess  Ursel,  the  She-Bear  (see  Ursula).  Through 
wearing  the  bear's  skin,  a  warrior  acquired  the  bear's  fighting  spirit 
and  the  grace  of  the  ursine  Goddess  who  was  often  a  teacher  of  the 
martial  arts.  "Berserk"  came  to  mean  one  possessed  by  battle-frenzy, 
careless  of  his  own  safety,  unable  to  feel  fear. 

Totemic  descent  from  the  She-Bear  characterized  several  old 
European  clans.  The  Orsini  or  Ursini  family  were  "bear's  children," 
carrying  a  bear  on  their  coat  of  arms.  William  of  Auvergne,  bishop  of 
Paris  in  the  16th  century,  solemnly  explained  the  origin  of  the  Orsinis 
by  saying  a  bear's  semen  is  very  like  a  man's,  therefore  it  was  quite 
possible  for  a  bear  to  beget  human  children,  presumably  on  a  human 


Bible  mother.1  The  story  reflects  contemporary  theological  opinion  that  only 

a  male  can  be  a  true  parent.  Nothing  was  said  about  a  she-bear's 

^^^^^^^^^^^m      ovum  being  like  a  woman's,  nor  was  there  a  human  father  who  might 
have  begotten  children  on  a  bear  mother. 

1.  Summers,  W,  243. 


This  word  for  a  holy  book  came  from  Byblos,  the  City  of  the  Great 
Mother,  the  oldest  continuously  occupied  temple  in  the  world.  The 
Goddess — called  Astarte,  Baalat,  Hathor,  etc. — patronized  learning, 
and  her  priestesses  collected  a  library  of  papyrus  scrolls.  Therefore, 
Greeks  called  any  papyrus  byblos,  which  came  to  mean  any  holy 
book.  Hence  the  "Bible." ' 

Scholars  have  found  in  the  Bible's  numerous  layers  of  additions 
and  corrections  a  substrate  of  the  former  Semitic  matriarchy,  such  as 
the  Book  of  Ruth  with  its  matrilineal  and  matrilocal  marriage  customs, 
and  the  Book  of  Judges  with  its  feminine  government  of  Israel 
(Judges  4:4).  In  several  books  the  word  translated  "God"  is  really  a 
feminine  plural,  "Goddesses,"  especially  in  reference  to  the  matriar- 
chal functions  of  lawgiving,  avenging  crimes,  and  bestowing  the 
imperium  of  leadership.2 

Some  of  the  miracles  attributed  to  biblical  heroes  were  copied  from 
older  myths  of  the  Goddess.  Joshua's  arrest  of  the  sun  was  formerly 
credited  to  priestesses  of  Isis,  Hecate,  and  the  Thessalian  Great  Mother, 
who  were  said  to  stop  heavenly  bodies  in  their  courses,  and  lengthen 
night  or  day  at  will.3  Moses's  flowering  rod,  river  of  blood,  and  tablets  of 
the  law  were  all  symbols  of  the  ancient  Goddess.  His  miracle  of 
drawing  water  from  a  rock  was  first  performed  by  Mother  Rhea  after  she 
gave  birth  to  Zeus,  and  by  Atalanta  with  the  help  of  Artemis.4  His 
miracle  of  drying  up  waters  to  travel  dry-shod  was  earlier  performed  by 
Isis,  or  Hathor,  on  her  way  to  Byblos.5 

The  greatest  mistake  of  religious  authorities  in  the  western 
world  was  their  view  of  the  Bible  as  intrinsically  different  from  other 
ancient  scriptures,  in  that  it  was  dictated  word  for  word  by  God,  not 
collected  slowly,  rewritten  and  mis-written,  revised  and  worked  over  by 
human  beings  for  a  long  time.  The  notion  that  the  Bible  did  not 
evolve  haphazardly,  like  most  other  holy  writings  of  the  same  period, 
persisted  almost  up  to  the  present  day,  even  among  people  who 
should  have  known  better. 

According  to  the  prevailing  myth  of  biblical  origins,  the  Old 
Testament  was  supposed  to  have  been  translated  from  Hebrew  to 
Greek  by  seventy-two  translators  sent  to  Ptolemy  by  Eleazar,  a  Jewish 
high  priest,  in  the  3rd  century  B.C.,  hence  its  name,  Septuagint. 
Ptolemy  locked  the  scholars  in  individual  cells  on  the  island  Pharos, 
where  each  one  made  his  own  Greek  version  in  exactly  seventy-two 


days.  Each  translation  agreed  exactly,  in  every  word,  with  the  other 
seventy-one  translations. 

Of  course  this  never  happened.  The  Bible's  real  history  was  far  less 
tidy.  A  collection  appeared  in  the  first  century  b.c.  and  again  in  the 
first  century  a.d.  to  be  accepted  by  the  Jews  of  the  Diaspora  as  sacred, 
and  passed  on  to  Christians.  In  both  Jewish  and  Christian  hands  the 
papyri  underwent  many  changes.  In  the  4th  century  a.d.,  St.  Jerome 
collected  some  Hebrew  manuscripts  and  edited  them  to  produce  the 
Latin  Vulgate,  a  Bible  of  considerable  inaccuracy,  differing  markedly 
from  Jerome's  stem  texts. 

The  King  James  Bible  relied  mostly  on  a  Greek  text  collected  and 
edited  by  Erasmus  in  the  16th  century,  which  in  turn  relied  on  a 
Byzantine  collection  assembled  gradually  at  Constantinople  between 
the  4th  and  8th  centuries.  A  few  older  texts  have  been  discovered:  the 
Codex  Sinaiticus,  the  Codex  Vaticanus,  the  Codex  Alexandrinus,  and 
the  Chester  Beatty  papyri.  All  are  fragmentary,  all  differ  from  one 
another  and  from  the  King  James  version.  There  are  no  known  portions 
of  the  Bible  older  than  the  4th  century  a.d.6 

The  Revised  Version  of  the  New  Testament  published  in  1881 
tried  to  correct  some  of  the  more  glaring  errors.  It  erased  the  spurious 
final  twelve  verses  of  Mark,  which  were  late  interpolations  including  the 
words  that  caused  centuries  of  suffering:  "He  that  believeth  not  shall 
be  damned."  It  eliminated  the  fraudulent  translation  "Joseph  and  his 
mother,"  intended  to  preserve  the  dogma  of  the  virgin  birth,  and 
restored  the  original  "his  father  and  his  mother."  It  omitted  the  forged 
interpolation  intended  to  preserve  the  dogma  of  the  trinity:  "For 
there  are  three  that  bear  record  in  heaven,  the  Father,  the  Word,  and 
the  Holy  Ghost:  and  these  three  are  one."  These  words  appeared 
nowhere  before  the  1 5th  century  a.d.  However,  the  Catholic  church 
insisted  on  retaining  the  forgery.  Churchmen's  argument  was:  "How, 
if  these  verses  were  an  interpolation,  could  the  Holy  Spirit,  who  guides 
and  directs  the  Church,  have  allowed  her  to  regard  this  lofty  affirma- 
tion of  the  Trinity  as  authentic,  and  permitted  its  insertion  in  the  official 
edition  of  the  sacred  books?"  In  1897  the  Congregation  of  the  Index, 
with  the  approval  of  Pope  Leo  XIII,  forbade  any  further  research  into 
the  origins  of  this  text.7 

Traditionally,  the  church  forbade  not  only  research  but  even 
reading  of  the  Bible  by  laymen.  Throughout  the  Middle  Ages, 
possession  of  a  Bible  written  in  the  vernacular  was  a  crime  punished  by 
burning  at  the  stake.8  With  the  Reformation  came  Bible-reading  in 
search  of  a  new  basis  for  faith;  but  in  the  process  were  found  many  new 
grounds  for  skepticism. 

Richard  Simon's  17th-century  Critical  History  of  the  Old  Testa- 
ment exhibited  the  now  well-known  internal  evidence  that  the  books 
of  Moses  were  not  written  by  Moses  but  were  compiled  by  many  hands 
at  a  much  later  date.  Bishop  Bossuet  pronounced  this  work  of 
scholarship  "a  mass  of  impieties,"  drove  its  author  out  of  the  Oratory, 




Maurice  Jones 

Author  of  The  New 
Testament  in  the 
Twentieth  Century, 

and  ordered  the  entire  first  edition  burned.  Dr.  Alexander  Geddes,  a 
Catholic  scholar,  translated  the  Old  Testament  in  1792  with  a  critical 
volume  proving  that  the  Pentateuch  could  not  have  been  written  by 
Moses,  nor  at  any  time  prior  to  the  reign  of  David.  He  was  denounced 
as  "a  would-be  corrector  of  the  Holy  Ghost."9 

As  the  years  passed,  it  became  increasingly  clear  that  the  Holy 
Ghost  needed  correcting.  Seven  clerical  scholars  published  Essays 
and  Reviews  in  1860,  defining  the  new  science  of  Bible  criticism.  They 
were  denounced,  and  two  were  suspended  from  office;  but  they  took 
their  case  to  court,  and  won.  In  1 869  Kuenen's  The  Religion  of  Israel 
established  Bible  criticism  as  a  valid  field  of  investigation.  He  was 
followed  by  many  others  in  Holland,  Germany,  and  France.  In  1889 
the  book  of  biblical  essays  called  Lux  Mundi  gave  up  all  pretense  of 
the  scriptures'  historicity  or  divine  inspiration,  admitting  that  the  Bible  is 
a  confused  mass  of  myth,  legend,  and  garbled  history,  often  contra- 
dicting provable  facts.10 

Naturally,  there  was  constant  opposition  to  the  efforts  of  the 
scholars.  Many  19th-century  churchmen  insisted  that  the  Bible's  only 
author  was  God.  Dean  Burgon  said,  "The  Bible  is  the  very  utterance  of 
the  Eternal;  as  much  God's  own  word  as  if  high  heaven  were  open 
and  we  heard  God  speaking  to  us  with  human  voice.  Every  book  is  in- 
spired alike,  and  is  inspired  entirely."  Dr.  Baylee  said  the  Bible  is 
"infallibly  accurate;  all  its  histories  and  narrations  of  every  kind  are 
without  any  inaccuracy."  Dr.  Hodge  declared  that  the  books  of  the 
Bible  are  "one  and  all,  in  thought  and  verbal  expression,  in  substance, 
and  in  form,  wholly  the  work  of  God,  conveying  with  absolute 
accuracy  and  divine  authority  all  that  God  meant  to  convey  without 
human  additions  and  admixtures."11  Apparently  none  of  these  gen- 
tlemen were  familiar  with  the  earlier  contradictory  texts;  nor  had  they 
read  the  Bible  closely  enough  to  see  the  many  passages  where  God 
contradicted  himself. 

The  real  point  was  that  organized  religions  had  an  economic 
interest  in  maintaining  literal  interpretation  of  biblical  myths.  Guigne- 
bert  says,  "The  doctrine  of  the  inerrancy  of  the  Bible  . . .  necessarily 
placed  theology  in  an  attitude  of  surly  and  sanguinary  hostility  toward 
the  exact  and  experimental  sciences,  which  it  will  not  abandon  save 
most  reluctantly  and  after  as  much  delay  as  possible. . . .  [Mjethods 
have  changed,  the  illusions  still  current  have  decreased,  but  its  spirit  is 
scarcely  altered."12 

When  the  theologians  began  to  give  in,  they  complained  that 
viewing  the  Bible  as  myth  would  destroy  the  whole  structure  that 
their  livelihood  and  self-respect  depended  on.  After  David  Straus's 
Lebenjesu  disposed  of  the  historicity  of  the  Gospel  stories,  and 
Renan's  Vie  de  Jesus  showed  that  the  Gospels  cannot  be  taken  as  literal 
truth  but  only  as  romantic  symbolism,  the  Rev.  Maurice  Jones 
exclaimed,  "If  the  Christ-Myth  theory  is  true,  and  if  Jesus  never  lived, 


the  whole  civilized  world  has  for  close  upon  two  thousand  years  lain  Bible 

under  the  spell  of  a  lie."13  The  Archbishop  of  Canterbury  found  it 
impossible  to  deny  the  Bible's  apparent  lies,  and  began  to  backtrack  _. 

with  his  plaintive  question,  "May  not  the  Holy  Spirit  make  use  of  myth 
and  legend?"14 

Obviously  the  Bible  was  full  of  myths  and  legends,  but  most 
orthodox  theologians  had  no  idea  of  their  meaning.  One  reason  was 
that  they  didn't  study  the  corresponding  myths  and  legends  of  other 
cultures— ancient  paganism,  modern  mysticism,  the  non-Christian 
beliefs  of  people  both  civilized  and  uncivilized  throughout  the  rest  of 
the  world.  Christian  missionaries  thought  theirs  was  the  only  pipeline 
to  divinity,  the  deities  of  all  other  people  throughout  the  world  were 
devils,  and  the  myths  of  the  Bible  were  absolutely  true  whereas  all 
other  myths  were  absolutely  false. 

Nowadays  such  crude  beliefs  seem  no  less  superstitious  than  the 
primitive  animisnvthat  the  missionaries  sought  to  destroy.  Yet  an 
even  darker  blot  on  the  history  of  Christian  missions  was  their  arrogant 
vandalism — burning  books  and  artworks,  smashing  images,  forbid- 
ding the  songs  and  poems  of  heathen  tradition  instead  of  listening  and 
recording  them  in  order  to  understand  the  people,  to  display  a  decent 
respect  for  what  alien  races  held  sacred,  as  the  pagan  Romans  did  in  the 
days  of  their  empire.  It  may  well  have  been  that,  had  the  missionaries 
been  willing  to  listen  and  learn,  they  would  have  discovered  the 
mythology  of  the  Bible  all  over  again  in  other  offshoots  from  its 
original  sources;  for  all  peoples,  nearly  everywhere  in  the  world,  shared 
the  same  fables  of  the  creation,  the  flood,  the  magic  garden  with  its 
tree  of  life  and  its  primal  couple,  the  wise  serpent,  the  heaven-piercing 
tower,  the  divided  waters,  the  chosen  people,  the  virgin  mothers,  the 
saviors,  and  all  the  rest.  It  has  been  said  both  testaments  of  the  Bible  are 
only  recent  and  relatively  corrupt  derivations  from  a  world-wide  cycle 
of  archetypal  myths.15 

Least  of  all  were  righteous  Christians  prepared  to  understand 
that  their  awe  of  the  Bible  rested  on  a  foundation  of  magical  supersti- 
tion: it  was,  and  is,  a  fetish.  Legal  oaths  were  taken  in  physical  contact 
with  a  Bible  because  of  a  very  primitive  belief  in  its  destructive  mana, 
which  would  automatically  punish  perjurors.  Both  Jews  and  Chris- 
tians used  their  Bible  for  divination,  just  as  a  witch  might  use  a  crystal 
ball,  an  African  might  use  a  thunder-stone,  or  a  Roman  augur  might 
use  the  sacred  chickens.  Bibliomancy  (taking  omens  from  the  Bible)  was 
sometimes  deplored,  but  from  the  4th  to  the  14th  centuries  was 
"repeatedly  practiced  by  Kings,  Bishops,  and  Saints."16  St.  Augustine 
frankly  recommended  taking  omens  from  the  Bible  "in  all  cases  of 
spiritual  difficulty."17  Even  in  this  "enlightened"  age,  in  both  Europe 
and  America,  the  Bible  is  still  used  to  give  omens.18 

A  favorite  biblical  method  for  discovering  a  thief  easily  lent  itself  to 
conscious  legerdemain.  The  name  of  the  accused  was  written  on  a 



Robert  Ingersoll 

(1833-1899)  American 
lawyer  and  lecturer, 
Attorney  General  of  the 
state  of  Illinois;  an 
outspoken  popularizer 
of  Bible  criticism. 

Josephine  Henry 

19th-century  Kentucky 
suffragist  and  pam- 
phleteer, active  in  the 
women's  rights 

Elizabeth  Cady 

Stanton  (1815-1902) 
One  of  the  leaders  of 
the  women's  rights 
movement  in  the 
U.S.;  an  associate  of 
Susan  B.  Anthony. 

piece  of  paper  and  inserted  into  the  hollow  end  of  a  key,  which  was  put 
into  the  Bible's  pages.  The  diviner  recited  Psalm  50:18:  "When  thou 
sawest  a  thief,  then  thou  consentedst  with  him,  and  hast  been  partaker 
with  adulterers."  The  guilt  of  the  accused  was  proven  if  the  key  was 
found  turned  around  afterward.19 

Despite  the  many  discoveries  and  clarifications  made  by  biblical 
scholars  in  the  last  century  or  so,  the  average  Christian's  attitude 
toward  the  Bible  is  still  hardly  more  sophisticated  than  this  simple- 
minded  magic.  Most  churchmen  see  to  it  that  their  congregations  are 
not  told  the  true  origins  of  biblical  myths.  The  most  primitive  or 
unattractive  of  these  are  constantly  re-interpreted  as  deep  allegories 
or  metaphorical  fables,  intended  by  their  divine  author  to  wait  two 
thousand  years  or  more  for  a  correct  explanation.  Yet  the  real 
explanation  of  the  sources  of  these  stories,  uncovered  by  the  careful 
researches  of  the  higher  critics,  is  seldom  mentioned.  Likewise 
ignored  are  many  of  the  truly  awkward  passages  such  as  "Thou  shalt  not 
suffer  a  witch  to  live,"  or  God's  frequent  commands  to  wage 
merciless  war,  which  no  amount  of  exegesis  can  fit  into  a  more  tolerant 

Erroneous  but  traditional  views  of  Bible  origins  and  meanings  are 
doggedly  preserved  by  male  chauvinists  in  particular,  since  the 
canonical  books  were  deliberately  selected  and  edited  to  wipe  out  all 
feminine  images  of  divinity  and  sanction  religious  suppression  of 
women.  Robert  Ingersoll  pointed  out  that  "As  long  as  woman  regards 
the  Bible  as  the  charter  of  her  rights,  she  will  be  the  slave  of  man."  Jo- 
sephine Henry  grumbled,  "The  Bible  records  that  God  created  woman 
by  a  method  different  from  that  employed  in  bringing  into  life  any 
other  creature,  then  cursed  her  for  seeking  knowledge."  Elizabeth 
Stanton  said  there  is  no  escape  from  the  Bible's  "degrading  teaching" 
as  to  the  position  of  women,  and  advised  women  to  boycott  churches. 
"It  is  not  commendable  for  women  to  get  up  fairs  and  donation 
parties  for  churches  in  which  the  gifted  of  their  sex  may  neither  pray, 
preach,  share  in  the  offices  and  honors,  nor  have  a  voice  in  the 
business  affairs,  creeds  and  discipline,  and  from  whose  altars  come  forth 
Biblical  interpretations  in  favor  of  woman's  subjection."21 

One  of  the  erroneous  notions  that  still  keep  Christian  women 
shackled  to  their  Bible-based  "inferior"  image  is  the  notion  that 
Christianity  was  founded  on  the  New  Testament,  when  in  fact  the  early 
churches  had  no  Gospels  but  rather  created  and  produced  their 
own.22  Not  only  did  churchmen  falsely  pretend  an  apostolic  origin  for 
their  scriptures;  they  also  weeded  out  all  references  to  female  author- 
ity or  participation  in  Christian  origins.23  Only  the  forbidden  Gnostic 
Gospels  retained  hints  that  Jesus  had  12  female  disciples  correspond- 
ing to  the  12  male  disciples,  or  that  Mary  Magdalene  was  the  leader  of 
them  all.  Even  women's  scholarship  was  denied.  St.  Jerome  openly 
admitted  that  his  co-authors  of  the  Vulgate  were  two  learned  women; 


but  later  scholars  erased  the  women's  names  and  substituted  the 
words  "venerable  brothers."24 

l.Encyc.Brit,  "Byblos."  2.  Mendenhall,  85.  3.  Wedeck  231 
4.  Graves,  CM.  1,  264.  5.  Budge,  G.E.  2,  191.  6.  Pfeifer,  103.  7.  Reinach  260 
8.Coulton,  123.  9.  White 2,  319,  327.  10.  White 2, 343-59.  11  White2'368" 
12.Guignebert,381.  13.  H.  Smith,  190,479.  14.White2  359    15  Hallet  328 
16.  Hazlitt,  47.  17.Waite,O.S.,  131.  18.  Cavendish,  P.E.,  83    19  Maple  39 
20.Muller,91.  21.  Stanton,  ix,  125,  196,  214.  22.  Muller  148   23  Paeels  57 
24.Boulding,356,372.  '      '     6    '     ' 



From  very  early  times  there  was  a  universal  Indo-European  belief 
that  souls  could  take  the  form  of  birds.  Latin  aves  meant  both  "birds" 
and  "ancestral  spirits,"  or  ghosts,  or  angels.  Roman  emperors 
achieved  godhood  in  the  form  of  an  eagle  which  was  released  above  an 
emperor's  funeral  pyre  to  carry  his  soul  to  heaven.1  Similarly,  an 
Egyptian  pharaoh's  spirit  rode  aloft,  on,  or  in,  the  solar  hawk  of  Horus 
released  at  his  funeral.  Like  Phoenix,  he  passed  through  the  Fire  and 
was  reborn  with  wings.  Based  on  such  prototypes,  the  souls  of  Christian 
saints  ascended  to  heaven  in  the  form  of  white  doves  released  at  the 
canonization  ceremony.2 

Becoming  a  bird  in  a  visionary  or  trance  state  was  a  widespread 
symbol  of  initiatory  death  and  rebirth.  Shamans  and  prophets  in  the 
South  Pacific,  Indonesia,  Central  Asia,  and  Siberia  claimed  to  transform 
themselves  into  birds.  Buddhist  yogis  said  ecstatic  flight  was  the  first 
magical  power  to  be  developed  by  the  practice  of  yoga.  "Becoming  a 
bird  oneself  or  being  accompanied  by  a  bird  indicates  the  capacity, 
while  still  alive,  to  undertake  the  ecstatic  journey  to  the  sky  and 
beyond."3  Celtic  "fays"  or  "fairies"  could  change  themselves  into 
birds,  which  is  why  they  were  depicted  with  wings  like  angels,  and  why 
witches  "flew"  to  the  Sabbat.4 

The  Chinese  said  women  knew  the  secret  of  flying  before  men 
did.  The  emperor  Shun  first  learned  it  from  two  princesses.  "Down 
to  a  certain  date  the  source  of  magical  power  lay  in  women  ...  an 
indication  of  an  ancient  Chinese  matriarchy."  In  northern  Europe 
also,  the  Goddess  Freya  owned  all  the  magic  feather  garments  that 
enabled  magicians  to  fly  through  the  air  like  birds.5  The  elaborate 
feather  garments  of  Mayan  and  Aztec  priesthoods  probably  had  the 
same  original  function,  to  facilitate  their  soul-flights. 

Because  birds  traveled  freely  between  the  earthly  and  heavenly 
realms,  they  were  everywhere  regarded  as  angelic  messengers,  givers 
of  omens,  possessors  of  occult  secrets,  as  well  as  soul-carriers.  Carrion 
crows  and  vultures  took  souls  to  heaven.  Storks  brought  them  back  to 
earth  for  rebirth.  Wise  owls  told  the  secrets  of  the  night;  lustful  doves 
and  nightingales  told  the  secrets  of  love.  Angelic  eagles  foretold  the 



Philo  Judaeus  (ca.  30 
B.c-40  a.d.)  Alexandrian 
Jewish  philosopher, 
strongly  influenced  by 
Hellenistic  Platonism, 
Pythagoreanism,  and 
Stoicism;  author  of 
biblical  commentaries, 
tracts,  and  histories. 

Myths  repeatedly  credit  seers  with  power  to  understand  the  lan- 
guage of  birds,  usually  because  sacred  serpents  licked  their  ears  to 
"open"  them,  as  in  the  case  of  the  Trojan  prophetess  Cassandra.6 
Siegfried  likewise  obtained  the  power  to  understand  birds,  via  the 
magic  blood  of  the  Great  Serpent  or  dragon.  A  bird  call,  a  magic 
formula,  and  singing  were  expressed  by  the  same  word  in  Germanic 

The  magpie  was  especially  revered  as  an  oracle.  It  was  a  picus 
(pecker)  sacred  to  the  Goddess  Mag,  or  Magog,  eponymous  ances- 
tress of  Scythian  Magnetes,  the  Amazonian  centaurs  credited  with 
prophetic  powers.8  In  Rome,  the  magpie  or  woodpecker  was  a 
totemic  form  of  the  god  Mars,  said  to  contain  his  soul  between  his 
incarnations  as  Maris  or  Faunus. 

In  Egypt  the  hawk  represented  the  soul  of  Horus  and  of  the 
pharaoh  who  embodied  him.  Hawks  came  to  stand  for  that  portion  of 
every  soul  called  the  ba,  which  could  come  and  go  at  will  after  death, 
flying  freely  in  and  out  of  the  tomb.  Narrow  shafts  were  left  open  in  pit 
graves  for  the  passage  of  the  ba.  Similar  shafts  in  pyramids,  sometimes 
misconstrued  as  ventilation  shafts,  were  originally  intended  to  let  the 
bird-soul  of  the  deceased  fly  in  and  out.9 

The  bird-soul  born  out  of  the  cremated  body  entered  Egyptian 
mythology  as  the  Phoenix,  sometimes  a  man,  sometimes  a  firebird. 
The  name  was  Greek,  meaning  "the  Phoenician,"  a  reference  to 
sacrificed  sacred  kings  of  Astarte  at  Byblos,  where  they  were  frequent- 
ly burned.10  The  cult  moved  to  North  Africa  with  Phoenician  colonists, 
and  was  carried  on  at  Carthage  where  sacred  kings  perished  in  flames 
to  a  very  late  date.11  Their  bird-souls,  reborn  from  the  flames  and  flying 
to  heaven,  gave  rise  to  the  myth  of  the  Egyptian  Phoenix  who 
periodically  cremated  himself  and  rose  again  from  his  ashes.  His 
worshippers,  identified  with  the  god  through  his  sacraments,  partook 
of  the  same  power  of  heavenly  flight.  A  common  expression  for  death 
was  "flying  away." 

Philo  wrote  of  the  sages'  soul-flights:  "They  accompany  in  thought 
the  Moon  and  Sun  in  their  circuitings,  the  choirs  of  other  planets  and 
fixed  stars,  attached  below  to  the  ground  by  their  bodies,  but  giving 
wings  to  their  souls,  so  that,  walking  on  the  ether,  they  contemplate  the 
powers  they  find  there."  Still  known  today  as  the  yogic  trance  or  out-of- 
body  experience,  the  soul-flight  was  often  described  in  medieval 
books  on  Hermetic  magic:  "Nothing  can  obstruct,  neither  the  Sun's  fire 
nor  the  Ether  nor  the  heaven's  revolution  nor  the  bodies  of  other 
stars;  but,  cutting  across  all  space,  the  soul  will  ascend  in  its  flight  up  to 
the  furthest  heavenly  body."12  Bird  lore  has  always  clearly  expressed 
man's  envy  of  the  power  of  flight  and  his  longing  to  know  what  the 
world  looks  like  from  high  in  the  sky. 

1.  Campbell,  Oc.M.,  334.  2.  Gaster,  769.  3.  Eliade,  S.,  98,  367, 409, 481-82. 

4.  Keightley.421.  5.  Eliade,  S.,  386, 449.  6.  Graves,  G.M.  2,  263. 

7.  Eliade,  S.,  98.  8.  Lawson,  244.  9.  Budge,  A.  T.,  144-45. 

10.  Graves,  G.M.  1,69.  11.  H.  Smith,  136.  12.  Lindsay,  O.A.,  191-92. 


Birth  Control  Birth  Control 

Transition  from  matriarchal  to  patriarchal  societies  usually  destroyed 

the  natural  mammalian  system  of  birth  control  practiced  by  animals  and        ""■^"■^^■■^^" 
primitive  people:  women  used  to  refuse  sexual  relations  during 
pregnancy  and  lactation,  a  period  lasting  anywhere  from  two  to  six  years 
for  each  child.  The  system  is  still  followed  in  some  parts  of  the  world. 
Among  the  Hunza,  pregnant  or  nursing  women  do  not  sleep  with  their 
husbands.  The  Semai  of  Malaya  think  it  correct  to  forbid  sex  during 
the  long  nursing  period,  as  this  allows  parents  to  space  their  children  and 
give  adequate  care  to  each  one.1  Even  in  an  aggressive  male- 
dominated  society  like  the  Yanomamo,  men  say  they  are  afraid  to  have 
sexual  intercourse  with  a  nursing  mother. 

Sometimes  modern  people  insult  the  animals  by  calling  a  human 
rapist  an  "animal."  Animals  don't  rape.  Sexual  intercourse  takes  place 
only  when  the  female  is  receptive.  When  she  is  preoccupied  with  caring 
for  her  young — always  her  first  priority — the  female  shows  no  sexual 
interest  in  the  male.  Should  he  be  so  ill-advised  as  to  make  sexual 
displays  to  her,  she  drives  him  away  with  bared  teeth. 

There  is  among  animals  no  question  of  the  use  of  force  on  the  part 
of  the  male;  the  conjunction  of  the  sexes  is  dependent  upon  the 
willingness  of  the  female. . . .  And  the  female  sexual  instincts  are  subject 
to  frequent  and  prolonged  natural  suspensions  which  do  not  always 
correspond  with  the  operation  of  those  instincts  in  the  male.  Among  all 
herbivores  the  females,  as  soon  as  they  are  pregnant,  retire  from  the 
company  of  the  males  to  seek  either  complete  seclusion  and  solitude,  or  to 
collect  in  herds  from  which  the  males  are  excluded.  Female  elephants 
drive  away  all  males  from  the  herds  of  cows  and  calves  not  only  during  the 
long  pregnancy  of  nearly  two  years,  but  throughout  the  period  of 
lactation.  The  behavior  is  typical  of  animal  females.  Had  the  primitive 
human  female  admitted  the  male  during  menstruation,  pregnancy,  and 
lactation  she  would  have  departed  from  all  biological  precedents;  her 
behavior  would  have  constituted  an  abnormality.2 

Many  early  records  show  that  human  females  did  not  depart 
from  biological  precedent.  Hippocrates  and  Galen  supported  the  an- 
cient taboo  on  sex  during  pregnancy  and  lactation.  There  was  a 
curious  remnant  of  the  taboo  even  in  a  popular  marriage  manual  of  the 
early  20th  century,  part  of  the  vast  body  of  sexual  misinformation  that 
our  grandparents  struggled  with.  The  author  declared  that  marital 
relations  during  pregnancy  would  make  the  child  epileptic.3 

In  most  primitive  societies  it  was  unthinkable  that  male  sexual 
desires  should  take  precedence  over  the  needs  of  mothers  and  their 
children.4  Patriarchy  everywhere  sought  to  change  this,  through  reli- 
gious sanction.  Women  were  to  serve  men's  sexual  urges  even  when 
preoccupied  with  motherhood.  This  was  the  meaning  of  God's  an- 
nouncement to  Eve:  "I  will  greatly  multiply  thy  sorrow  and  thy 
conception;  in  sorrow  thou  shalt  bring  forth  children;  and  thy  desire 
shall  be  subject  to  thy  husband,  and  he  shall  rule  over  thee" 


Birth  Control  (Genesis  3:16).  In  this  context,  "sorrow"  meant  labor  pangs,  as  well  as 

the  harried  life  of  a  mother  with  children  too  close  together,  and  the 
^^^^^^^^^^^m      illnesses  and  injuries  caused  by  spreading  a  mother's  care  too  thin. 

The  Christian  canon  omitted  the  First  Book  of  Adam  and  Eve, 
which  contradicted  the  canonical  scripture  by  stating  that  Eve  stuck 
to  the  old  system  of  birth  control  after  all.  She  gave  birth  to  Cain 
and  his  twin  sister  Luluwa,  another  incarnation  of  the  lilu  or  "lily" 
who  was  also  Eve's  predecessor  Lilith.  Then  "when  the  days  of 
nursing  the  children  were  ended" — but  not  until  then — "Eve  again 
conceived."  She  produced  Abel  and  his  twin  sister.  After  Abel  was 
killed  at  the  age  of  15  years,  Eve  produced  Seth  to  replace  him. 
"After  the  birth  of  these,  Eve  ceased  from  childbearing." 5  Thus  the 
entire  human  race  descended  from  these  four:  Cain,  Seth,  and  their 
sisters.  According  to  this  version  of  the  story,  Eve  was  not  particu- 
larly troubled  by  God's  curse. 

However,  later  Judeo-Christian  culture  insisted  on  men's  con- 
trol of  women's  bodies.  Wives  were  not  to  initiate  sexual  relations,  but 
they  were  never  to  deny  their  husbands.  The  Catholic  church  laid 
down  the  law  that  no  wife  could  accuse  her  husband  of  rape  even  if  he 
forced  her  with  accompanying  brutality.  Sexual  "release"  was  his 
conjugal  right  (but  not  hers). 

The  church  interpreted  the  fable  of  Genesis  as  God's  mandate  to 
compel  women  to  bear  as  many  children  as  possible,  even  at  the  cost 
of  the  children's  or  the  mothers'  physical  health  and  welfare.6  Men 
refused  to  deal  with  the  problem  of  over-production,  and  women 
were  forbidden  to  do  so,  by  the  church's  tradition.  In  pagan  times, 
women  used  some  fairly  effective  birth-control  devices,  ranging  from 
vaginal  sponges  to  abortifacient  drugs.  Many  churchmen  believed  the 
witches  inherited  secret  knowledge  of  such  things,  which  contributed 
to  the  vigor  of  witch-  and  midwife-persecutions. 

Father  Dominic  Pruemmer  recently  wrote  in  American  Freedom 
and  Catholic  Power:  "Birth  control  is  nothing  else  than  mutual 
masturbation  or  unnatural  lust."7  It  is  not  usual  to  view  the  "lust" 
of  marital  partners  for  each  other  as  unnatural.  Nor  did  the  church  ever 
object  to  sex  as  masturbation  when  it  was  for  a  husband's  benefit 
only — that  is,  not  mutually  satisfying.  In  fact  church-sanctioned  litera- 
ture of  the  1 7th  century  said  the  only  purpose  of  marital  sex  must  be 
conception,  and  if  a  woman  receives  too  much  pleasure  she  cannot 

The  church  further  taught  women  that  their  children  belonged 
more  to  God  than  to  themselves,  thus  eroding  the  instinctive  mater- 
nal possessiveness  that  fosters  the  best  of  child  care.  Not  illogically, 
mothers  often  left  their  unwanted  children  for  God  to  care  for.  In  the 
1 8th  century,  the  hospital  of  St.  Vincent  de  Paul  in  Paris  reported 
as  many  as  5000  infants  annually  deposited  on  God's  doorstep.9  Infant 
corpses  were  rather  commonly  found  among  the  rubbish  of  western 
cities.  Foundling  hospitals  were  so  busy  that  they  set  revolving  boxes  in 


their  walls,  so  infants  could  be  passed  through.  Yet  foundling  hospi-  Birth  Control 

tals  seldom  saved  the  children  they  were  given.  In  practice,  they  solved 

the  problem  of  excess  births  by  killing  babies  by  the  thousands,  under  ^^^^^^^^^ 

the  sanction  of  male-dominated  officialdom.10 

London's  first  foundling  hospital  admitted  1 5,000  infants  in  the 
four  years  between  1756  and  1760.  Of  these,  fewer  than  a  third 
survived  to  adolescence.  On  the  continent,  the  death  rate  for  children  in 
foundling  institutions  ran  between  80  and  90  percent  during  the  first 
year  of  life.  Parish  officers  entrusted  the  care  of  newborns  to  women 
nicknamed  "killing  nurses,"  because  they  were  expected  to  do  the 
state's  dirty  work,  and  see  to  it  that  the  unwanted  children  did  not  long 

In  effect,  the  patriarchal  society  having  outlawed  birth  control  and 
abortion  could  find  nothing  better  to  do  with  the  overflow  than 
destroy  it  after  all.  Apparently  this  was  all  right,  as  long  as  the  decision  to 
give  life  or  withhold  it  was  not  being  made  by  the  mothers  them- 
selves. Vetter  found  this  kind  of  morality  puzzling: 

Is  there  any  evidence  that  religion  has  provided  a  superior  brand  of 
wisdom  for  the  guidance  of  secular  affairs,  or  in  the  burning  social 
issues  of  the  day?  With  the  population  of  the  earth  growing  by  geometric 
leaps  from  unchecked  fertility  but  with  epidemics  and  diseases  well 
under  control,  what  religious  leaders  spoke  up  for  the  necessity  of  planned 
parenthood?  Not  one!  But  many  did  hound  Margaret  Sanger  to  prison 
for  her  constructive  work  in  that  direction. IZ 

An  Englishwoman  gave  the  following  picture  of  conventional 
morality  in  regard  to  reproduction,  indicating  that  religious  leaders  care 
for  their  own  mythology  and  ceremonial  well  ahead  of  the  future 
welfare  of  the  race: 

In  a  village  that  I  know  well  a  woman,  legally  married,  bore  five  idiot 
children  one  after  the  other;  her  husband  was  a  confirmed  drinker  and 
a  mental  degenerate.  One  of  the  children  fortunately  died.  The  text  that 
was  chosen  for  his  funeral  card  was  "Of  such  is  the  kingdom  of 
heaven.  "About  the  same  time  in  the  same  village  a  girl  gave  birth  to  an  il- 
legitimate child.  She  was  a  beautiful  girl;  the  father,  who  did  not  live  in 
the  village,  was  strong  and  young;  probably  the  child  would  have  been 
healthy.  But  the  girl  was  sent  from  her  situation  and,  later,  was  driven 
from  her  home  by  her  father.  At  the  last  she  sought  refuge  in  a  disused 
quarry,  and  was  there  for  two  days  without  food.  When  we  found  her, 
her  child  had  been  born  and  was  dead.  Afterwards  the  girl  went  mad. n 

Margaret  Sanger  gave  her  life  to  the  effort  to  prevent  such 
tragedies,  both  within  and  without  marriage.  She  believed  that  "excess 

people,  not  acts  of  God,  created  poverty,  famine,  and  war All 

society  would  gain  . . .  if  birth  control  were  allowed  to  shut  off  the  spigot 
that  floods  the  world  with  weaklings.  When  sick  and  unfit  mothers 
were  not  forced  to  breed,  there  would  be  an  end  to  unwanted  children 
who  grow  up  to  fill  our  prisons  and  asylums."14 

But  churches  still  doggedly  opposed  the  right  of  women  to 


Birth-Giving,  Male  determine  when,  where,  and  how  much  they  shall  breed,  largely 

because  of  the  deep-seated  male  desire  to  control  the  life-giving  miracle 

^^^^^^^^^^m      in  which  men  play  only  a  negligible  part  biologically.  It  can  hardly  be 
denied  that  male-dominated  religions  were  everywhere  devoted  to  this 
end  from  their  earliest  inception.  As  a  result,  overpopulation  threatens 
the  world  with  virtually  unthinkable  ecological  and  sociological  dis- 
asters.15 Even  now,  in  the  face  of  such  disasters,  religious  leaders  tend 
to  the  view  that  the  faithful  should  multiply  forever. 

l.Dentan,98.  2.  Briffault  2,400-401.  3.  Simons,  161.  4.  Briffault  2, 48. 
5.  Forgotten  Books,  54.  6.  See  E.T.  Douglas.  7.  Ellis,  89.  8.  Simons,  141. 
9.Lederer,64.  10.  M.  Harris,  183.  11.  M.  Harris,  184.  12.  Vetter,  513. 
13.  Hartley,  347.  14.  E.T.  Douglas,  137.  15.  Hallet.411-12. 

Satapatha  Brahmana 

The  "Brahmana  of  100 
Paths."  Brahmanas  are 
prose  commentaries  on 
Vedic  scriptures,  dated 
from  800  to  500  B.C. 

Padma  Purana 

"Lotus  Purana."  Pura- 
nas  are  ancient 
Sanskrit  scriptures  in 
verse,  treating  of  cos- 
mologies, sacred 
histories,  and  the  na- 
ture of  the  divine. 

Rig  Veda  Foremost 
of  the  four  Aryan  scrip- 
tures written  in  Vedic 
(an  older  form  of  San- 
skrit), ca.  1500-1200 
B.C.,  containing  sacred 
mythology,  hymns, 
and  verses;  literary 
foundations  of  the 
Vedic  religion. 

Birth-Giving,  Male 

Since  birth-giving  was  the  only  true  mark  of  divinity  in  primitive 
belief,  the  first  gods  to  claim  any  sort  of  supremacy  had  to  claim  also  the 
ability  to  give  birth.  In  fact,  usurpation  of  the  feminine  power  of 
birth-giving  seems  to  have  been  the  distinguishing  mark  of  the  earliest 

Lacking  vaginas,  many  gods  gave  birth  from  their  mouths.  Priests 
of  Ra  claimed  their  god  gave  birth  to  the  first  couple  from  his  mouth. 
The  Satapatha  Brahmana  said  the  god  Prajapati  learned  to  give  birth  to 
creatures  from  his  mouth;  but  before  he  could  manage  it,  he  had  to 
make  sacrifices  to  an  older,  higher  power:  the  Goddess  Svaha,  Lady  of 
Sacrifices.  According  to  the  Padma  Purana,  a  god  named  Sukra 
(Seed)  was  born  from  Shiva's  penis,  after  living  in  Shiva's  belly  for  a 
hundred  years.  However,  this  was  not  a  proper  maternal-type  birth. 
Sukra  existed  beforehand,  and  Shiva  had  to  make  himself  pregnant  by 
swallowing  him.1 

The  Rig  Veda  spoke  of  a  male  creator  who  gave  birth  to  the 
Mother  of  Creation,  then  impregnated  her,  so  she  brought  forth  the 
rest  of  the  universe.  Brahmans  tried  to  claim  the  Mother  of  All  Gods 
was  born  from  Brahma's  body,  even  though  she  was  the  mother  of 
Brahma  too.2  Brahma  was  known  as  Lotus-Born,  meaning  he  sprang 
from  the  primal  Yoni,  the  Goddess  Padma  ("Lotus").  His  first 
Lotus  Throne  was  located  in  her  lap.  The  Rig  Veda  also  called  her  Vac, 
the  Great  Womb,  the  Queen,  the  First,  the  Greatest  of  All  Deities. 
She  said:  "I  begot  the  All-Father  on  high.  I  dwell  in  the  waters,  the 
deep,  and  thence  extend  through  all  creatures,  and  touch  the  heavens 
with  my  crown.  Like  unto  the  wind  I  blow,  encompassing  all  creatures; 
above  the  heavens  and  above  the  earth."3 

Hellenic  Greeks  pretended  their  new  Father  Zeus  gave  birth  to  the 
much  older  Goddess  Athene  from  his  head.  But  before  he  could 
give  birth  to  Athene,  he  had  to  swallow  her  real  mother,  Metis 
(Wisdom),  who  was  pregnant  with  her  at  the  time.4  The  Hellenes 
also  claimed  Zeus  gave  birth  to  Dionysus  from  his  thigh;  but  again,  the 


real  mother  was  the  Moon-goddess  Selene,  whom  Zeus  killed  during  Birth-Giving,  Male 

her  pregnancy.  As  Conductor  of  Souls,  Hermes  took  the  six-month 

fetus  from  Selene's  womb  and  sewed  him  up  in  Zeus's  thigh  to 

continue  his  gestation.  ^^^^^™^^^™11™ 

A  Greek  carving  showed  the  god  Apollo  sitting  on  a  pile  of  eggs, 
trying  to  copy  the  life-giving  magic  of  his  mother  Leto,  or  Leda,  or 
Latona,  who  gave  birth  to  the  World  Egg  and  hatched  it.5  This  World 
Egg  was  an  old  Oriental  idea.  The  Satapatha  Brahmana  said  it 
contained  "the  continents,  the  oceans,  the  mountains,  the  planets  and 
the  divisions  of  the  universe,  the  gods,  the  demons,  and  humanity."6 
Thus,  birth— laying  the  egg— was  the  image  of  cosmic  creation,  and 
creator-gods  needed  to  copy  it.  In  Egypt,  the  mother  of  the  World 
Egg  was  Hathor  in  the  guise  of  the  Nile  Goose,  later  mythologized  as 
the  Goose  who  laid  the  Golden  Egg.  (See  Goose.) 

Atum,  the  local  god  of  Heliopolis,  the  biblical  "City  of  On," 
claimed  to  give  birth  to  a  primal  couple  from  his  penis  by  masturbat- 
ing. Pyramid  Texts  of  2000  B.C.  said  "Atum  created  in  Heliopolis  by  an 
act  of  masturbation.  He  took  his  phallus  in  his  fist,  to  excite  desire 
thereby.  And  the  twins  were  born,  Shu  and  Tefnut."7  However,  priests 
of  Khepera  insisted  that  their  god  produced  Shu  and  Tefnut  by 
masturbation  and  self-fertilization  through  his  mouth.  Yet  the  oldest 
traditions  said  Shu  and  Tefnut  ("Dryness"  and  "Moisture")  were 
born  of  the  primal  Mother,  Iusaset.  Like  the  biblical  God  who  copied 
her  many  centuries  later,  she  not  only  created  the  first  couple,  but 
also  brought  forth  light  as  her  first  act  of  creation.8 

Before  begetting  was  understood,  archaic  myth-makers  tried  all 
sorts  of  ideas  for  making  a  male  body  produce  offspring.  A  Chinese 
ancestor-god,  Kun,  suffered  a  crude  Caesarian  section.  He  was  slain  and 
cut  open  so  Yu,  founder  of  the  Hsia  dynasty,  could  emerge  from  his 
stomach.9  Norsemen  said  a  first  male-and-female  couple  were  born 
from  the  sweaty  armpit  of  the  giant  Ymir,  who  imitated  Mother 
Earth  in  that  his  flesh  became  the  soil,  his  blood  the  sea,  his  bones  the 
mountains.10  Ymir's  skull  became  the  dome  of  the  heavens,  support- 
ed at  four  corners  by  four  dwarves,  Austri,  Vestri,  Nordri,  and  Sudri 
(East,  West,  North,  and  South),  northern  copies  of  the  Sons  of 
Horus. ' '  Similar  cardinal-direction  gods  became  identified  with  the  four 
angels  of  the  Apocalypse  and  four  evangelists,  whose  totems  were 
the  same. 12  Totem  Symbol  or 

The  god  Loki  gave  birth  to  Odin's  horse,  after  making  himself  embodiment  of  an 

pregnant  by  eating  a  woman's  heart.15  The  usual  mythic  symbol  of  a  rationahSrif31'  ^ 

woman's  heart,  from  Egypt  to  northern  Europe,  was  an  apple.  Thus  it  frequently  in  animal 

might  be  assumed  that  in  some  prototypical  versions  of  the  Eden  form;  a  divine  or 

» story,  Adam  ate  the  apple  before,  not  after,  he  gave  birth  to  Eve.  semi-divine  mascot 

Adam's  birth-giving  was  a  syncretic  product  of  numerous  local  supposed  to  have 

notions  of  the  male  mother.  A  Hittite  god,  Kumarbi,  managed  to  esce"  e    r°man 

°  _  r       ,  animal  ancestor, 

become  pregnant  by  eating  his  rival  s  penis.  His  offspring  retused  to 

come  out  through  his  mouth  or  ears,  and  having  no  vagina  he  was 


Birth-Giving,  Male  unable  to  deliver  them.  Finally  the  sea  god  Ea  took  them  out  through 

his  side,  as  Adam's  God  did  later.  The  idea  for  Adam's  magic  birth- 

^^^^^^^^^^^^      giving  rib  came  from  a  Sumerian  childbirth-goddess,  Nin-ti,  "Lady  of  the 
Rib."  Since  ti  meant  both  "rib"  and  "life,"  she  was  also  a  Lady  of 
Life.  She  made  infants'  bones  in  utero  from  their  mothers'  ribs,  which  is 
why  biblical  writers  thought  ribs  possessed  the  magic  of  maternity.14 

An  odd  male-birth  myth  came  from  Persia's  intensely  patriarchal 
Zoroastrian  cult,  suggesting  a  combination  of  homosexuality  and 
bestiality.  The  primal  being,  the  Sole-Created  Bull,  was  castrated  and 
slain.  Its  semen  went  to  the  moon  to  be  purified;  then  from  this 
purified  seed  two  new  bulls  were  formed.  From  these,  "all  animals 
descended."  The  hidden  feminine  element  in  this  phallic  fantasy  was 
the  moon,  of  course;  but  the  two  bulls  must  have  procreated  homosex- 
ually.  This  idea  was  not  unknown  even  in  Christian  Europe. 
"Authorities"  like  Paracelsus  taught  that  a  monster  may  be  born  of  a 
man  as  a  result  of  oral  or  anal  intercourse  with  another  man.15  No 
matter  how  impossible  it  seemed,  men  apparently  wished  to  preserve  at 
any  price  the  notion  that  a  male  could  give  birth. 

Christianity  demoted  the  Goddess  to  mortal  status  in  both  Eve  and 
Mary,  whom  mystics  regarded  as  two  incarnations  of  the  same 
person.  In  both  incarnations  she  was  a  Mother  of  her  Father.  Gnostic 
Gospels  said  Adam  came  into  being  from  the  virgin  Earth,  who  was 
none  other  than  Eve.16  The  story  of  her  birth  from  Adam  was  a  late, 
distorted  version  of  the  myth. 

Unless  the  male  spirit  is  able — as  in  mathematics — to  construct  a  purely 
abstract  world,  it  must  make  use  of  the  nature  symbols  originating  in 
the  unconscious.  But  this  brings  it  into  contradiction  with  the  natural 
character  of  the  symbols,  which  it  distorts  and  perverts.  Unnatural 
symbols  and  hostility  to  the  nature  symbol — e.g.  Eve  taken  out  of 
Adam — are  characteristic  of  the  patriarchal  spirit.  But  even  this  attempt 
at  revaluation  usually  fails,  as  an  analysis  of  this  symbolism  might  show, 
because  the  matriarchal  character  of  the  nature  symbol  asserts  itself 
again  and  again.  '7 

Throughout  the  world,  men's  initiatory  dramas  enacted  birth- 
giving  to  represent  even  the  attainment  of  man's  estate.  Apparently  men 
could  think  of  no  better  way  to  adopt  new  members  into  their 
fraternities  than  to  make  the  novices  symbolically  dead  and  reborn, 
often  from  a  male  mother.  In  New  Guinea,  initiates  into  the  men's 
group  crawled  out  from  between  the  legs  of  men  costumed  as  the  birth 
spirit.18  Australian  men  opened  their  veins  to  bathe  a  young  initiate 
into  their  blood,  magically  imitating  the  blood  of  the  womb.19 

Baptismal  rebirth  from  male  blood  was  an  idea  shared  by  all 
mystery  cults  of  the  early  Christian  era.  In  the  Mithraic  Mysteries,  an 
initiate  was  showered  with  the  blood  of  the  sacrificial  bull  and  pro- 
nounced "reborn  for  eternity."20  Afterward  he  was  fed  on  milk,  like 
an  infant.21  From  primitive  times  to  the  present,  men's  groups  devised 
theatrical  imitations  of  birth,  often  claiming  the  rites  were  stolen  from 


women— or  that  women  were  murdered  for  them— and  have  sought  to  Bitch 

protect  these  masquerades  with  all  the  taboos  their  priesthoods  could 

invent.22  In  Malekula,  men  even  applied  the  name  of  mara  to  the  place        ^^^^__ ^_ 
where  male  initiations  were  held;  it  meant  the  women's  obstetrical  ™^^^™^^^™ 

enclosure  or  birth-temple.23 

In  its  determined  exclusion  of  women,  early  Christianity  evolved 
some  "birth  rites"  of  a  somewhat  homosexual  cast.  Some  writers 
claimed  Christian  men  could  "impregnate"  each  other,  in  the  spiritual 
sense,  by  kissing:  "For  it  is  by  a  kiss  that  the  perfect  conceive  and  give 
birth."24  But  it  was  hard  for  men  to  see  themselves  as  perfect,  when 
they  conspicuously  lacked  the  ability  to  bring  forth  and  nurture  new 
members  of  their  race.  Thus  their  endless  quest  for  superiority  nearly 
always  required  some  travesty  of  motherhood. 

Symbolic  motherhood  represented  authority  in  the  medieval 
Russian  Orthodox  wedding  ceremony.  The  bridegroom  threw  the 
lap  of  his  gown  over  his  bride,  signifying  adoption  by  the  ancient  rite  of 
mock  birth.  The  wearer  of  the  gown  was  "mother";  the  one  emerg- 
ing from  under  it  was  "child."  The  Christian  idea  was  to  show  that  a 
husband  exercised  over  his  wife  the  authority  of  a  mother  over  her 
child.  It  is  strange  that,  when  fatherhood  meant  authority  in  practice, 
men  still  thought  it  necessary  to  clothe  that  authority  in  the  symbols 
of  motherhood. 

l.O'Flaherty,  32-33,  297.  2.  Larousse,  345;  O'Flaherty,  26.  3.  Briffault  1,7. 
4.  Graves,  G.M.  1, 46.  5.  Knight,  S.L.,  147.  6.  Larousse,  346.  7.  Lederer,  156. 
8.  Budge,  G.E.  1,  297,  354, 429.  9.  Hallet,  180.  10.  Larousse,  248. 
11.  Branston,  60.  12.  Budge,  E.M.,  89.  13.  Turville-Petre,  129. 
14.Hooke,M.E.M,  115.  15.  Silberer,71,  144.  16.  Pagels,  53. 
17.  Neumann,  G.M.,  50.  18.  Briffault  2,687.  19.  F.  Huxley,  103.  20.  Angus,  239. 
21.  Guignebert,  71-72.  22.  Mead,  102-3.  23.  Neumann,  G.M.,  159. 
24.  Robinson,  135. 


This  became  a  naughty  word  in  Christian  Europe  because  it  was  one  of 
the  most  sacred  titles  of  the  Goddess,  Artemis-Diana,  leader  of  the 
Scythian  alanioi  "hunting  dogs."  The  Bitch-goddess  of  antiquity  was 
known  in  all  Indo-European  cultures,  beginning  with  the  Great  Bitch 
Sarama  who  led  the  Vedic  dogs  of  death.  The  Old  English  word  for 
a  hunting  dog,  bawd,  also  became  a  naughty  word  because  it  applied  to 
the  divine  Huntress's  promiscuous  priestesses  as  well  as  her  dogs.1 

Harlots  and  "bitches"  were  identified  in  the  ancient  Roman  cult  of 
the  Goddess  Lupa,  the  Wolf  Bitch,  whose  priestesses  the  lupae  gave 
their  name  to  prostitutes  in  general.2  Earthly  representatives  of  the  Wolf 
Bitch  ruled  the  Roman  town  of  Ira  Flavia  in  Spain,  as  a  queen  or 
series  of  queens  named  Lupa.3 

In  Christian  terms,  "son  of  a  bitch"  was  considered  insulting  not 
because  it  meant  a  dog,  but  because  it  meant  a  devil — that  is,  a 
spiritual  son  of  the  pagan  Goddess. 

1.  Potter  &  Sargent,  208.  2.  Murstein,  76.  3.  Hartley,  237. 


Blaise,  Saint 

Blaise,  Saint 

Spurious  canonization  of  the  Slavic  horse-god  Vlaise,  or  Vlas,  or 
Volos:  a  consort  of  the  lunar  Diana.  He  was  Christianized  about  the  8th 
century,  but  kept  his  pagan  function  as  a  patron  of  animals.1  Charms 
read  aloud  in  churches  claimed  he  could  heal  any  sick  beast.2  The  myth 
of  his  martyrdom  was  dressed  up  with  the  traditional  seven  pries- 
tesses, who  gathered  up  his  sacred  blood.5  In  England  he  was  known  as 

1.  Attwater,  70.  2.  Scot,  197.  3.  de  Voragine,  155. 


Accepted  title  for 
eleven  Welsh  tales 
from  bardic  oral 
tradition,  first 
collected  in  the  Red 
Book  of  Hergest,  ca. 
1400  A.D. 


"White  Flower,"  the  Lily  Maid  of  Celtic  initiation  ceremonies, 
representing  the  Virgin  aspect  of  the  Goddess — the  red  flower  standing 
for  the  Mother,  and  the  black  bird  for  the  Crone,  according  to  the 
three  sacred  colors  of  the  Gunas.  Celtic  romances  said  Blancheflor 
received  Perceval  into  the  fairy-religion,  before  he  was  converted  to 
Christian  purity  at  the  hands  of  literary  monks.  She  was  the  same  as  the 
Tantric  Indian  lady-love  of  Perceval's  predecessor,  Peredur  Paladrhir 
of  the  Mabinogion.  The  monks  calumniated  Blancheflor,  as  any  Shakti 
would  have  been  calumniated  by  ascetics.  They  described  her  as  a 
Jewish  witch  who  coupled  with  Satan  at  a  sabbat,  and  gave  birth 
to  Antichrist.1 

1.  Baring-Gould,  C.M.M.A.,  169. 

Cornelius  Tacitus 

Roman  historian 
and  rhetorician,  ca. 
56-120  a.d. 


From  Old  English  bletsain,  earlier  bleodswean,  "to  sanctify  with 
shedding  of  blood." l  It  was  the  custom  to  consecrate  altars  by  sprinkling 
them  with  blood,  and  to  "bless"  individuals  by  marking  them  with 
blood,  as  is  still  the  custom  of  foxhunters  who  "blood"  new  members  of 
the  club  after  a  kill.  According  to  Tacitus,  the  Celts  "deemed  it 
indeed  a  duty  to  cover  their  altars  with  the  blood  of  captives."2  The 
Romans  did  the  same  in  essence,  though  their  altars  were  "blessed"  with 
the  blood  of  sacrificial  animals. 

Catholics  now  bless  altars  by  sprinkling  them  with  salt,  an  ancient 
custom  of  the  Jews,  based  on  the  primitive  idea  that  blood  and  salt 
were  magical  equivalents  because  they  tasted  alike.  Egyptian  altars  were 
dedicated  with  salt.  In  Egypt,  dedi  was  the  magic  salt  that  made  Nile 
water  become  "as  human  blood."3  (See  Menstrual  Blood;  Salt.) 

Blessing  a  person  by  drawing  a  cross  on  his  head  and  breast 
originated  with  the  Mithraic  rite  of  the  Taurobolium,  when  the  cross 
(an  emblem  of  Mithra)  was  marked  thus  on  participants  with  the  bull's 
blood,  so  they  became  official  witnesses  of  the  ceremony  of  rebirth. 


To  be  blessed  meant  to  be  saved,  through  the  magic  of  blood,  as  the 
Christian  Gospels  also  admitted:  "Almost  all  things  are  by  the  law 
purged  with  blood;  and  without  shedding  of  blood  is  no  remission" 
(Hebrews  9:22). 

l.M.  Harrison,  129.  2.  Pepper  &  Wilcock,  217.  3.  Erman,49. 



Welsh  Virgin  Goddess  of  spring,  all  made  of  flower-buds,  her  beauty 
disguising  a  personification  of  the  blood-hungry  soil  waiting  to  be 
fructified  with  the  lifeblood  of  the  sacred  king.  She  also  personified 
the  "blood  wedding"  whereby  Llew  Llaw  GyfFes  became  her  doomed 
bridegroom  and  died  from  a  spear-thrust  in  the  side,  according  to  the 
classic  pattern  seen  in  Balder,  Jesus,  Krishna,  and  many  others.  His  soul 
became  an  eagle;  but  he  rose  again  in  human  form  to  challenge  his 
slayer,  Gronw,  to  another  bout  the  following  year.  Like  Gawain  and  the 
Green  Knight,  or  Frey  and  Njord  in  Scandinavia,  the  two  "blood- 
gods"  (blotgodar)  alternately  sacrificed  each  other  in  seasonal  cycles.1 
The  reincarnated  Llew  Llaw  killed  Gronw  with  a  spear-thrust 
through  a  sacred  holed  stone. 

Blodeuwedd's  totemic  form  was  an  owl,  the  same  bird  of  wisdom 
and  lunar  mysteries  that  accompanied  or  represented  ancient  God- 
desses like  Athene  and  Lilith.  Owls  were  almost  invariably  associated 
with  witches  in  medieval  folklore.  She  was  also  the  Ninefold  Goddess 
of  the  western  isles  of  paradise,  otherwise  known  as  Morgan,  the  Virgin 
blending  into  the  Crone  of  death.  She  said:  "Nine  powers  in  me 
combined,  Nine  buds  of  plant  and  tree.  /  Long  and  white  are  my  fin- 
gers, As  the  ninth  wave  of  the  sea."2 

1.  Turville-Petre,  163.  2.  Graves,  W.G.,  29,  340. 


See  Menstrual  Blood. 


Warrior  queen  of  the  Iceni  who  led  her  tribe  against  Roman  invaders 
of  Britain  in  60  a.d.  Tacitus  said  the  Roman  soldiers  had  dared  to 
scourge  the  queen  and  rape  her  two  daughters,  besides  plundering 
the  country.  Boadicea  took  her  revenge  by  slaughtering  an  entire  legion; 
but  an  overwhelming  number  of  reinforcements  were  sent  to  quell 
the  revolt.  In  the  end,  the  Britons  were  defeated,  and  Boadicea  killed 
herself  to  avoid  capture  and  disgrace.1 

1.  Tacitus,  337-41. 

var.  Boudicca 

Cornelius  Tacitus 

Roman  historian 
and  rhetorician,  ca. 
56-120  a.d. 


Boar  Boar 

Sacrificial  boar-gods  common  to  both  Scandinavian  and  Middle- 
Eastern  traditions  began  with  the  Indian  cult  of  Vishnu,  who  claimed  to 
create  the  world  by  virtue  of  his  self-sacrifice  in  boar  shape.  Vishnu 
said  the  blood  of  his  boar  incarnation  had  the  creative  power  that  only 
the  Mother's  blood  formerly  had:  "Gods  and  creatures  arise  out  of 
the  sacrifice,  for  the  sacrifice  is  their  appointed  food.  Everything  will 
always  arise  from  the  sacrifice;  this  whole  universe  is  made  of  the 
sacrifice."  Vishnu  dared  to  copulate  with  the  Earth  Goddess  while  she 
was  menstruating,  and  begot  three  boar-sons  who  were  also  sacrificed 
by  "gods  saying  Om,"  the  Word  of  creation.1 

Vishnu  the  Boar  represented  an  early  attempt  to  re-assign  to  a 
male  the  holy  creative  blood  of  life,  the  Goddess's  menstruum.  As  the 
phallic  god  who  gave  his  life  for  humanity,  he  was  worshipped  in 
conjunction  with  the  Goddess  by  Germanic  Aryans  who,  Tacitus 
said,  "worship  the  mother  of  the  gods,  and  wear  as  a  religious  symbol 
the  device  of  a  wild  boar." 2 

This  Germanic  boar-god  became  the  doomsday-averting  Savior 
and  Lord  of  Death,  in  both  human  and  porcine  form,  "born  in  the 
days  of  old  . . .  of  the  race  of  gods."  He  was  identified  with  Heimdall, 
born  of  the  Earth-and-Sea  mother,  fathered  by  boar  blood.  "He  was 
made  strong  with  the  force  of  the  earth,  with  the  cold  sea  and  the  blood 
of  the  sacrificial  boar."3  That  is,  like  most  gods,  in  dying  he  begot 
himself  again. 

The  boar-god  was  sacrificed  especially  at  Yul  (Yule),  with  an  apple 
in  his  mouth,  symbolizing  his  regenerated  heart-soul,  according  to 
the  Scandinavian  belief  that  apples  were  resurrection  charms.4  Hence 
the  traditional  Yule  pig  roasted  with  an  apple  in  its  mouth.  There  was 
a  mystical  meaning  behind  the  pork-eating  ritual.  "Valhalla's  boar"  was 
cooked  in  a  cauldron,  the  regenerative  womb-symbol,  and  the  skalds 
said  of  it,  "It's  prime  of  pork,  but  few  men  know  on  what  Valhalla's 
champions  feed."5  If  one  may  hazard  a  guess,  Valhalla's  champions 
used  to  feed  on  human  flesh,  for  which  the  boar  was  substituted. 
Swedish  priests  in  boar  masks  were  regarded  as  incarnations  of  Frey, 
and  husbands  of  Freya,  indicating  an  identification  with  the  sacrificial 
god  who  once  wedded  the  Mother  and  died  as  both  a  boar  and  a 

The  Jews'  taboo  on  pig's  flesh  was  nothing  so  hygienic  or  rational 
as  fear  of  trichinosis,  as  some  modern  apologists  have  tried  to  suggest, 
showing  gross  misunderstanding  of  the  biblical  mentality.  Reinach  said, 
"In  the  whole  of  the  Bible  there  is  not  a  single  instance  of  an  epi- 
demic or  a  malady  attributed  to  the  eating  of  unclean  meats. ...  To  the 
Biblical  writers,  as  to  contemporary  savages,  illness  is  supernatural;  it 
is  an  effect  of  the  wrath  of  spirits.  The  pious  Jew  abstains  from  pork 
because  his  remote  ancestors,  five  or  six  thousand  years  before  our 
era,  had  the  wild  boar  as  their  totem."7 

Like  their  neighbors,  the  Jews  worshipped  sacrificial  boar-gods: 


Syrian  Adonis,  for  one.  Boars  were  offered  to  Astarte  in  Syria,  and  to  Bogey 

her  counterpart  Demeter  in  Greece.  Demeter's  Eleusinian  Mysteries 

mythologized  the  boar  sacrifice  as  "pigs  falling  into  a  crevice  in  the  ^^^^^^^^^ 

earth"  at  the  moment  when  Pluto,  Lord  of  Death,  seized  his  virgin 

bride  Kore.8  The  custom  of  driving  sacrificial  pigs  into  pits,  as  in  the 

rites  of  Demeter  and  Astarte,  appeared  in  Christian  Gospels  as  the 

miracle-tale  of  the  Gadarene  swine,  whose  sacrificial  death  impelled 

by  "demons"  was  re-assigned  to  the  intervention  of  Jesus  (Mark 


Myths  of  dying  gods  like  Tammuz,  Attis,  and  Adonis  featured  the 
boar,  or  boarskin-clad  priest,  who  sacrificed  the  god  in  swine  form. 
Such  gods  were  "gored  in  the  groin"  by  the  boar,  an  allegory  of  ritual 
castration.9  As  lovers  of  the  Goddess,  they  were  chosen  from  mem- 
bers of  her  priesthood.  The  sacrificer  of  Adonis  was  another  of  the 
Goddess's  lovers,  Ares,  wearer  of  the  boarskin.  The  sacrificer  and 
castrater  of  Attis  was  his  divine  alter  ego,  a  boar  sent  by  Zeus,  or  by  the 
king  of  Phrygia — these  presumed  simultaneously  incarnate  in  the 
same  body.10  Like  Christ,  Attis  was  the  dying  Son  later  resurrected  as 
the  Father  who  decreed  his  death  in  the  first  place.  Similarly,  Vishnu 
the  Boar  decreed  death  for  his  boar-sons.11  Some  myths  said  Attis  died 
in  the  same  way  as  Adonis,  being  gored  by  a  boar.  Others  said  Attis 
himself  was  the  boar,  a  totemic  sign  of  his  kingship.12 

Malekula  presents  an  original  primitive  view  of  the  sacrificial 
animal  as  savior  or  surrogate  for  men.  Mother  Death  guards  the  gates 
of  the  after-world.  A  man  must  pass  these  gates  by  distracting  her 
attention  with  his  sacrificial  pig.  While  she  devours  the  pig,  he  slips 
by  her.13  After  sacrificing  and  eating  on  earth  the  savior-pig  who 
becomes  part  of  himself,  the  man  says,  "It  is  no  longer  I  who  live,  but 
my  sacrifice  who  lives  in  me."  H  Christians  similarly  ate  their  god  in 
communion,  and  were  taught  to  recite  at  the  gate  of  heaven,  "No 

►more  I,  but  Christ." 
The  old  cults  of  the  boar  were  not  altogether  forgotten.  Medieval 
fairy  tales  abound  in  magic  boars,  often  figuring  as  sacrificial  animals. 
The  first  French  book  printed  on  the  subject  of  witchcraft,  de  Spina's 
Fortress  of  the  Faith,  declared  that  French  witches  assembled  at  a 
certain  sacred  rock  to  worship  the  devil  in  the  shape  of  a  boar.15 

l.O'Flaherty,  196-97.  2.  Tacitus,  73 1 .  3.  Turville-Petre,  147-48. 
4.  Turville-Petre,  187.  5.  Sturluson,  63.  6.  Gelling  &  Davidson,  162. 
7.  Reinach,  19-20.  8.  Graves,  G.M.  1, 94.  9.  Graves,  G.M.  1,  72. 
10.  Graves,  W.G.,  198.  11.  O'Flaherty,  196.  12.  Campbell,  P.M.,  427. 
1 3.  Campbell,  P.M.,  447.  14.  Campbell,  M.I.,  456.  15.  Robbins,  27. 


The  Bogey-man  was  a  devil  derived  from  Slavic  bog,  "god."  English 
cognates  were  bugabow,  bugaboo,  bugbear,  and  boggle-bo,  which  used 
to  signify  a  pagan  image  carried  in  procession  to  the  games  of  May 
Day.1  "Humbug"  came  from  Norse  hum,  "night,"  plus  bog  or  bogey, 


Bogomils  i.e.,  a  night  spirit.2  The  word  "bug,"  from  Welsh  bwg,  "spirit,"  was 

Bones  applied  to  insects  because  of  the  old  belief  that  insects  were  souls  in 

^^^^^^^^^^^^      search  of  rebirth.3  A  mantis  was  the  soul  of  a  seer  or  wizard.  A 
butterfly  was  Psyche,  the  Female  Soul. 

Other  derivations  of  bog  were  Scottish  bogle,  Yorkshire  boggart, 
English  Pug,  Pouke,  and  Puck;  Icelandic  Puki;  the  Puk  of  Friesland; 
the  German  Putz  or  Butz;  Irish  Pooka  and  Welsh  Pwcca;  Danish 
Spoge  and  Swedish  Spoka  with  their  English  offshoot,  "spook."4  Old 
English  puca,  a  fairy,  was  applied  to  the  old  gods  of  Beltain.5  Thus  Puck 
was  the  same  as  the  witches'  god,  Robin. 

1.  Hazlitt,  80.  2.  Leland,  161.  3.  Spence,  96.   4.  Keightley,  315-16. 
5.  Potter  &  Sargent,  295. 


"God-lovers,"  Gnostic  Christian  heretics  in  the  Balkans,  12th  to  14th 
centuries  a.d.  Allied  with  the  basically  Manichean  heresies  of  the 
Paulicians  of  Armenia  and  the  Patarenes  of  Bosnia,  the  Bogomils  arose 
in  Bulgaria  in  revolt  against  the  abuses  of  the  Roman  church,  rejecting 
baptism,  the  Eucharist,  the  cross,  miracles,  church  buildings,  and  the 
whole  organization  of  orthodoxy.  Like  other  Manicheans,  they  held  that 
the  God  who  created  this  world  of  matter  was  a  demon.1 

The  Bogomils  were  highly  puritanical  but  less  sexist  than  the 
Roman  church.  They  admitted  women  to  religious  offices  on  an 
equal  basis  with  men.  The  Catholic  writer  Cosmas  condemned  as 
"deviltry"  their  custom  of  appointing  women  to  hear  confessions  and 
give  absolution  to  men.2  Up  to  the  late  14th  century,  Bogomilism  was 
"the  most  powerful  sectarian  movement  in  the  history  of  the  Bal- 
kans," but  Catholic  crusades  drove  many  members  of  the  sect  into  the 
arms  of  Islam,  and  the  movement  was  crushed.  See  Bugger. 

1.  Encyc.  Brit,  "Bogomils."  2.  Spinka,  p.  66. 


Many  religions  tabooed  breaking  the  bones  of  a  sacrificial  animal,  on 
the  theory  that  the  gods  needed  a  complete  skeleton  to  resurrect  it 
anew.1  On  one  occasion,  the  god  Thor  killed  and  resurrected  two 
goats,  but  the  thighbone  of  one  had  been  damaged,  so  the  new  goat  was 

The  same  belief  is  evident  in  the  Bible.  Concerning  the  paschal 
lamb,  God  ordered:  "Neither  shall  ye  break  a  bone  thereof"  (Exodus 
12:46);  "They  shall  leave  none  of  it  unto  the  morning,  nor  break 
any  bone  of  it"  (Numbers  9:12);  "He  keepeth  all  his  bones;  not  one  of 
them  is  broken"  (Psalms  34:20).  To  fulfill  all  these  alleged  prophe- 
cies, Jesus's  bones  were  left  intact  to  identify  him  with  the  Lamb:  "That 


the  scripture  should  be  fulfilled,  a  bone  of  him  shall  not  be  broken" 
(John  19:36). 

Several  saints'  legends  also  made  use  of  regenerative  bones. 
St.  Germain  resurrected  a  calf,  on  whose  flesh  he  had  just  feasted,  by 
laying  the  bones  on  the  hide  and  praying  over  them.3  A  derivative' 
medieval  belief  was  that  every  body  contains  an  incorruptible  seed-bone, 
"out  of  which,  as  they  say,  as  a  plant  out  of  the  seed,  our  animal 
bodies  shall  in  the  resurrection  of  the  dead  spring  up."4 

l.Lnrvusse,  307.  2.  Silberer,  82.  3.  de  Voragine,  398.  4.  Agrippa,  88. 



India's  patriarchal  god,  whose  priests  tried  to  establish  wholly  male- 
dominated  society  and  eliminate  the  Mother  Goddess — who, 
nevertheless,  remained  the  parent  of  Brahma  as  she  was  of  the  other 
gods.  Though  some  of  Brahma's  scriptures  tried  to  dissociate  him  from 
the  Mother  by  calling  him  "the  Birthless,"  yet  the  same  scriptures 
incongruously  referred  to  him  as  the  Goddess's  "Firstborn."1 

The  older  dharma  (holy  law)  said  the  worst  of  crimes  was  killing  a 
woman  or  female  child,  because  it  meant  killing  unborn  generations.2 
However,  like  most  patriarchal  systems,  Brahmanism  lifted  the  taboo  on 
male  aggression  against  females,  and  claimed  that  it  was  better  to  kill 
women  than  to  insult  Brahmans:  "To  revile  and  calumniate  a  worship- 
per of  the  Supreme  Brahman  is  a  sin  ten  million  times  worse  than 
that  of  killing  a  woman."3 

Like  the  medieval  Christian  church,  Brahman  priests  made  rules 
for  rigid  control  of  wives,  and  made  their  deity  say  any  other  kind  of 
marriage  was  a  sin  that  made  the  wife  a  whore  and  the  children 
illegitimate,  disqualified  for  religious  observances.4 

Brahman  marriage  reversed  the  old  system  of  matrilineal  inheri- 
tance, insisting  that  property  must  pass  from  father  to  son.  A  widow 
without  male  children  was  entitled  to  inherit  only  if  she  "lives  under  the 
control  of  the  relations  of  her  husband,  and  in  their  absence  under 
the  control  of  her  father's  relations" — that  is,  male  relations — "then 
only  is  she  entitled  to  inherit.  The  woman  who  is  even  likely  to  go 
astray  is  not  entitled  to  inherit  the  husband's  property." 5  In  practice  of 
course,  any  or  all  of  these  male  groups  could  easily  declare  the  widow 
unfit  to  inherit  and  divide  the  property  among  themselves. 

Brahmanism  was  essentially  paternal  ancestor-worship,  possibly  the 
root  of  similar  paternal  ancestor-worship  instituted  in  Israel  by  the 
legendary  Abraham,  whose  name  meant  "Father  Brahm."  There  was 
the  same  obsession  with  record-keeping.  At  every  Brahman  wedding, 
long  lists  of  paternal  ancestors  were  recited,  like  the  biblical  lists  of 
"begats."  Brahman  sons  were  taught  to  recite:  "My  father  is  my 
highest  Dharma My  father  is  my  Heaven.  On  my  father  being 


Brigit,  Saint 

satisfied,  the  whole  Universe  is  satisfied."  Brahma  also  displayed  the 
patriarchal  god's  usual  insistence  on  exclusivity:  "Those  who  are  averse 
to  My  doctrine  are  unbelievers  and  sinners,  as  great  as  those  who  slay 
a  Brahman."6 

It  is  clear  that  Jewish  patriarchy  owed  a  debt  to  Brahman  prece- 
dent. From  the  Far  East  came  the  legend  of  the  Golden  Age  of 
righteousness,  when  men  were  free  from  sin,  had  great  longevity,  and 
grew  to  gigantic  size.7  Comparable  were  the  long-lived  biblical 
patriarchs  of  the  antediluvian  age  when  there  were  "giants  in  the  earth" 
(Genesis  6:4).  The  story  of  Cain  and  Abel  was  Indo-Iranian.  Vedic 
poets  used  to  beg  their  god  to  accept  their  sacrifices,  and  reject  those  of 
other  arya  (men).8 

The  legend  of  Jonah  was  prefigured  by  the  Indian  tale  of  Candra- 
gomin,  who  endangered  the  ship  he  sailed  on  because  a  rival 
magician  caused  a  storm  and  took  the  form  of  a  sea  beast  to  swallow 

Talmudic  tradition  adopted  the  typical  Oriental  belief  in  transmi- 
gration of  souls;  Adam's  soul  passed  by  transmigration  into  David, 
than  into  the  Messiah.10  Brahmanic  revelation  seemed  to  be  part  of  the 
Messianic  promise  also.  The  Katha  Upanishad  said  Brahma  is  realized 
in  one's  own  soul  dimly,  as  if  seen  in  a  mirror;  but  in  the  heaven  of 
Brahma  he  is  realized  clearly,  "as  one  distinguishes  light  from 
darkness."11  The  New  Testament  repeats  the  same  message  copied  al- 
most word  for  word:  "For  now  we  see  through  a  glass  (i.e.,  mirror) 
darkly,  but  then  face  to  face"  (1  Corinthians  13:12).  The  Brahman 
doctrine  that  a  thousand  years  is  one  Day  of  Brahma  is  repeated  in 
Psalms  90:4,  and  again  in  the  First  Book  of  Adam  and  Eve,  where  God 
explains  that  "five  days  and  a  half  for  him  means  5,500  years  for 

Brahma  is  no  longer  popular  in  his  native  land.  He  is  described  as  a 
"theologian's  god,  whose  worship  never  struck  vital  roots  in  the 
popular  folk  soil."  He  was  used  mainly  to  support  the  caste  system. 
"Today  Brahma  is  so  relatively  unimportant  that  only  one  or  two 
temples  in  all  India  are  reserved  for  his  exclusive  worship."13 

1.  Upanishads,  22.  2.  O'Flaherty,  293.  3.  Mahanirvanatantra,  45 .  4.  Ibid.,  45,  58. 
5.  Ibid.,  283.  6.  Ibid.,  215,  236, 16, 242.  7.  Ibid.,  xlvii.  8.  Dumezil,  425. 
9.  Tatz  &  Kent,  146.  10.  Waddell,  226.  11.  Upanishads,  23. 
12.  Forgotten  Books,  6.  13.  Ross,  57. 

Cormac's  Glossary 

Compendium  of  old 
Irish  terms  and  leg- 
ends, attributed  to 
Archbishop  Cormac 
Mac  Cullenan  (d.  908 
a.d.),  king  of  Mun- 
ster.  However,  some 
scholars  believe  the 
Glossary  was  compiled 
later  than  his 

Brigit,  Saint 

Triple  Goddess  of  the  great  Celtic  empire  of  Brigantia,  which 
included  parts  of  Spain,  France,  and  the  British  Isles.  Before  she  was  a 
saint,  she  was  a  typical  feminine  trinity.  Brigit  ruled;  her  two  sisters 
governed  the  arts  of  healing  and  smithcraft.  Cormac's  Glossary  called 

her  "Brigit  the  female  sage Brigit  the  goddess,  whom  poets 

adored,  because  her  protecting  care  over  them  was  very  great  and  very 


Dr.  MacCulloch  said  Brigit  "originated  in  a  period  when  the  Celts 
worshipped  goddesses  rather  than  gods,  and  when  knowledge— 
leechcraft,  agriculture,  inspiration— were  [sic]  women's  rather  than 
men's.  She  had  a  female  priesthood  and  men  were  perhaps  excluded 
from  her  cult,  as  the  tabooed  shrine  at  Kildare  suggests."2  Brigit's 
priestesses  at  Kildare  kept  an  ever-burning  sacred  fire  like  that  of  the 
temple  of  Vesta  in  Rome.  They  called  the  three  personae  of  Brigit  the 
"Three  Blessed  Ladies  of  Britain"  or  the  "Three  Mothers,"  and 
always  identified  them  with  the  moon.3 

The  number  of  Brigit's  priestesses  at  Kildare  was  19,  representing 
the  19-year  cycle  of  the  Celtic  "Great  Year."  Greeks  said  the  sun  god 
of  the  north,  whom  they  called  Hyperborean  Apollo,  visited  the  north- 
ern "temple  of  the  moon  goddess"  once  every  19  years,  a  mythic 
expression  of  the  coincidence  of  solar  and  lunar  calendars.4  In  reality  the 
period  of  coincidence  was  18.61  years,  which  meant  the  smallest 
regular  unit  to  give  a"mating"  of  sun  and  moon  was  56  years,  two 
cycles  of  19  and  one  of  18.  This  astronomical  data  was  well  known  to 
the  builders  of  Stonehenge,  who  marked  the  span  of  Great  Years  with 
posts  around  their  circle.5 

Brigit  was  older  than  Celtic  Ireland,  having  come  with  Gaelic 
Celts  from  their  original  home  in  Galatia.  One  of  her  earliest  shrines 
was  Brigeto  in  Illyricum.6  Long  before  the  Christian  era,  the  Goddess 
of  the  Brigantes  was  said  to  be  the  same  as  Juno  Regina,  Queen  of 
Heaven,  and  Tanit,  the  Dea  Celestis  (Heavenly  Goddess).7 

Finding  the  cult  of  Brigit  impossible  to  eradicate,  the  Catholic 
church  rather  unwisely  canonized  her  as  a  saint,  calling  her  Bridget 
or  Bride.  Hagiographers  declared  she  was  a  nun  who  founded  a  convent 
at  Kildare.  But  the  convent  was  noted  for  its  heathenish  miracles  and 
evidences  of  fertility  magic.  Cows  never  went  dry;  flowers  and  sham- 
rocks sprang  up  in  Brigit's  footprints;  eternal  spring  reigned  in  her 
bower.  Irish  writers  refused  to  reduce  their  Goddess  to  mere  sainthood, 
and  insisted  that  she  was  Queen  of  Heaven,  which  meant  identifying 
her  with  Mary.  She  was  called  "Mother  of  my  Sovereign,  Mary  of  the 
Goidels,  Queen  of  the  South,  Prophetess  of  Christ,  Mother  of 

An  Irish  charm  against  the  evil  eye  suggested  collusion  between 
the  pagan  and  Christian  heavenly-mother  figures;  it  was  "the  Spell 
the  great  white  Mary  sent  to  Bride  the  lovely  fair."9  She  was  also  the 
mystic  mother-bride  of  St.  Patrick,  supposed  to  have  died  as  one  of 
her  sacrificial  victims,  and  entered  the  underworld  via  her  sacred  grove 
at  Deny  Down.  An  old  distich  said,  "On  the  hill  of  Down,  buried  in 
one  tomb,  were  Bridget  and  Patricius."10  Since  Patrick's  name  meant 
"father,"  and  he  was  as  apocryphal  as  other  Irish  saints,  he  may  have 
been  a  new  name  for  Brigit's  old  consort  the  Dagda  or  "father." 

Three  churches  of  "St.  Brigit"  occupied  her  Triple-Goddess 
territory  of  Hy  Many,  formerly  Emania  or  Emain  Macha,  country  of 
the  Moon.  Baptismal  fees  of  those  churches  belonged  to  the  O'Kelly 
tribes,  descended  from  the  Goddess's  kelles  or  sacred  harlots.  Her 

Brigit,  Saint 

J.  A.  MacCulloch 

Scottish  scholar,  author 
of  The  Religion  of 
the  Ancient  Celts,  1911. 

Illyricum  (or  Illyria) 
Ancient  name  for  the 
northwestern  part  of 
the  Balkan  peninsula, 
sometimes  including 
parts  of  modern 
Serbia,  Bulgaria, 
Austria,  and  the  Tyrol. 


Brimstone  original  female  trinity  was  semi-Christianized  as  a  "Wonder-working 

Triad"  consisting  of  Brigit,  Patrick,  and  Columba:  the  Mother,  the 

Father,  and  the  Holy  Dove.  St.  Brigit's  feast  day  was  the  first  of 

February,  the  first  day  of  spring  according  to  the  pagan  calendar.  It 
was  called  Oimelc,  Imolg,  or  Imbulc,  the  day  of  union  between  God 
and  Goddess.11 

The  same  day  was  celebrated  in  Rome  as  the  Lupercalia,  sacred  to 
Venus  and  to  women  generally.  With  unconscious  irony,  the  church 
transformed  it  into  the  Feast  of  the  Purification  of  the  Virgin,  also  called 
Candlemas,  which  kept  much  of  its  pagan  symbolism  and  was 
regarded  as  a  major  festival  of  witches.12 

Like  other  versions  of  the  Celtic  Goddess,  Brigit  was  a  teacher  of 
the  martial  arts,  and  a  patron  of  warfare  or  briga.  Her  soldiers  were 
brigands,  or  as  Christians  called  them,  outlaws.15  Robin  Hood's  merry 
men  were  outlaws  of  the  same  kind;  so  were  Kali's  Thugs  and  the 
"Assassins"  who  worshipped  the  Arabian  Moon-goddess. 

Brigit  was  canonized  more  than  once.  Besides  the  Irish  Brigit  there 
was  a  St.  Bridget  of  Sweden,  foundress  and  supreme  ruler  of  a  double 
monastery  of  both  sexes,  the  Order  of  Brigantines.  (See  Convent.)  A 
branch  of  the  ancient  "colleges"  of  Brigit  was  a  Brigantine  House  of 
Sion  established  in  1420  on  the  bank  of  the  Thames,  where  it  flourished 
until  1589  as  a  center  of  education  for  ladies  of  noble  birth.14 

I.  Joyce  1,260-61.  2.  Campbell,  P.M.,  432.  3.  Briffault  3,  70.  4.  Hitching,  213. 
5.  Hawkins,  140.  6.  J.H.  Smith,  D.C.P.,  141.  7.  Lindsay,  O.A.,  328. 

8.  Graves,  W.G.,  144.  9.  Gifford,  60.  10.  Brewster,  140. 

II.  Joyce  1,379,  507;  2,  388.  12.  de  Lys,  127.  B.Tuchman,  252.  14.  Brewster,  339. 


Old  name  for  sulfur,  derived  from  Brimo,  a  title  of  Athene,  Hecate, 
and  Demeter.1  It  meant  "raging  one,"  the  Goddess's  Destroyer  aspect.2 
The  alchemical  symbol  for  sulfur  was  the  same  as  the  symbol  of 
Athene,  a  triangle  surmounting  a  cross:  female  genital  sign  over  the 
male,  like  the  symbol  of  Venus.3 

Even  the  raging  Brimo  appeared  as  the  Virgin  Mother,  in  feasts  of 
purification  at  Eleusis,  where  the  advent  of  the  Divine  Child  was 
announced  with  a  cry,  "Holy  Brimo  has  borne  the  Holy  Child 

Because  of  her  magical  ability  to  cleanse  and  purify,  Brimo's  stone 
was  supposed  to  be  proof  against  disease.  Burning  sulfur  was  used 
even  in  medieval  times  to  fumigate  sickrooms  and  avert  the  plague.  The 
use  of  brimstone  as  an  agent  of  purification  accounts  for  its  appear- 
ance in  the  cauldron  of  Purgatory  with  its  "fire  and  brimstone"  to  burn 
away  sins. 

Alchemists  tried  to  "marry  Hermes  and  Athene"  by  combining 
mercury  with  brimstone,  which  they  thought  might  create  gold. 
They  never  succeeded. 

1.  Knight,  S.L.,  102.  2.  Graves,  G.M.  2,  384.  3.  Koch,  54, 66.  4.  Wilkins,  67. 


Brisingamen  Brisingamen 

The  Necklace  of  Freya;  in  Norse  myth,  the  magic  rainbow  bridge  to  Broomstick 

paradise.  In  Greece,  Iran,  Mesopotamia,  and  the  Far  East,  prominent  m^h^h^hm^h 

features  of  the  after-world  were  often  called  "ornaments"  of  the 
Goddess,  whose  physical  being  was  all  existence:  underworld,  earth,  and 
heaven.  Ishtar  too  wore  the  rainbow  necklace,  which  the  Persians 
converted  into  the  razor-edged  bridge  to  the  Mount  of  Paradise.  See 
Diakosmos;  Ishtar;  Rainbow.  Odin  stole  Freya's  necklace  and 
hung  it  on  his  own  image;  but  she  retrieved  it. 


"Sweet  Virgin,"  a  title  of  Rhea,  the  Great  Goddess  of  Bronze  Age 
Crete  and  the  Aegean  islands.1  The  same  name  was  given  to  an  early 
ruler  of  Gaul,  who  was  probably  a  queen  embodying  the  Goddess's 
spirit.2  Olympian  mythology  said  the  mother  of  Britomartis  was  the 
Cretan  virgin  Carme,  another  form  of  Car,  Car-Dia,  Carmenta, 
Carna,  etc.  They  were  really  different  names  for  the  same  deity.  The 
titles  by  which  she  was  addressed  in  prayers  and  hymns  were  later  mis- 
understood as  the  names  of  different  deities,  which  is  why  the 
Goddess  became  "goddesses"  in  the  west,  or  the  Thousand-Named 
One  in  the  east. 

1 .  Larousse,  86.  2.  Briffault  3, 400. 


The  fairy  wood  in  Brittany  where  Nimue,  or  Vivien,  or  Morgan 
enchanted  Merlin  into  his  magic  sleep  within  a  crystal  cave — or,  some 
said,  within  the  trunk  of  a  venerable  oak  tree.  This  was  one  of  the 
nimidae  or  moon-groves  still  used  for  worship  of  woodland  deities  up 
to  the  time  of  the  Renaissance.1  See  Grove,  Sacred. 

1.  Joyce  1,359-60. 


Companion  of  Joseph  of  Arimathea,  keeper  of  the  Christianized 
version  of  the  Holy  Grail.  Bron  was  really  the  Celtic  god  Bran,  keeper 
of  the  Cauldron  of  Regeneration;  a  popular  deity  with  numerous 
shrines,  patron  of  "healing  and  resurrection." ' 

1.  Graves,  W.G.,  39. 


Broomsticks  were  long  associated  with  witches  because  they  figured 
in  pagan  rituals  of  marriage  and  birth,  the  Mysteries  of  Women.  In 
Rome  the  broom  was  a  symbol  of  Hecate's  priestess-midwife,  who 


Broomstick  swept  the  threshold  of  a  house  after  each  birth  to  remove  evil  spirits  that 

might  harm  the  child.1 

^^^^^^^^^^^  As  Hecate  was  also  the  Triple  Goddess  presiding  over  marriage, 

her  broomstick  signified  sexual  union.  Old  wedding  customs  included 
jumping  over  a  broomstick,  possibly  to  represent  impregnation.  Gypsy 
weddings  always  included  the  same  ritual,  though  gypsies  now  say  they 
don't  know  what  it  means.2  Oddly  enough,  the  same  broom-jumping 
ritual  marked  the  churchless  weddings  of  black  slaves  in  nineteenth- 
century  America. 

Medieval  peasant  weddings  in  Europe  were  also  churchless,  as  a 
rule,  coming  under  the  jurisdiction  of  common  law  rather  than  canon 
law,  and  using  the  rites  of  the  old  religions  rather  than  the  new.  The 
broom  was  so  closely  identified  with  non-ecclesiastical  marriages  that 
by  Renaissance  times,  when  the  church  began  to  take  over  the  nuptial 
rites,  unions  "by  the  broom"  were  declared  illegitimate.  English 
rustics  still  say  "if  a  girl  strides  over  a  broom-handle,  she  will  be  a  mother 
before  she  is  a  wife."  A  girl  who  gives  birth  to  a  bastard  child  is  said  to 
have  "jumped  over  the  besom." ? 

As  a  horse  for  witches  to  ride,  the  broomstick  apparently  signified 
Tantric-type  sexual  unions  which  were  primary  attractions  of  the 
female-oriented  witch  cults.  Plants  genet,  the  broom  plant,  was  sacred 
to  witches.  This  may  explain  why  the  ruling  family  of  Anjou  in  the 
12th  century  was  named  Plantagenet.  Henry  II,  first  Plantagenet  king  of 
England,  inherited  his  throne  by  matrilineal  succession  through  his 
mother  Matilda,  or  Maud — names  commonly  associated  with  witch- 
craft— the  countess  of  Anjou.  Genet  also  meant  a  horse  or  steed,  the 
"royal  horse"  of  paganism.  This  meaning  is  preserved  in  the  word 
jennet,  a  small  horse  or  the  female  donkey,  and  in  the  names  fre- 
quently taken  by  witches:  Jenet,  Janet,  Jeannette,  Jean,  or  Joan. 

Such  names  suggested  a  witch-child  born  of  a  sacred  marriage  with 
a  phallic  god  represented  by  the  broom.  A  Janet  or  Jenny  was  a 
Daughter  of  the  Horse,  and  old  gods  like  Volos,  Volsi,  Waelsi,  or  Odin 
were  called  "Horse's  Penis."4  Riding  the  broomstick  seems  to  have 
denoted  the  kind  of  sexual  position  viewed  as  a  perversion  by  the 
church,  woman  above,  man  below  acting  as  her  "horse."  This  sexual 
implication  is  confirmed  by  the  old  witch-rhyme,  "Ride  a  cock-horse  to 
Banbury  Cross  (i.e.,  crossroads),  to  see  a  fine  lady  on  a  white  horse." 
The  fine  lady  was  Godiva,  "the  Goddess."  Her  white  cock-horse 
signifed  her  consort.5 

Children  rode  the  cock-horse  as  a  broomstick  with  a  horse's  head, 
copied  from  Sufi  mystics  who  entered  Spain  in  the  early  Middle 
Ages.  Besides  their  organization  in  groups  of  thirteen,  like  covens,  and 
their  worship  of  the  Rabba  or  "Lord,"  later  transformed  into  the 
witches'  god  Robin,  Sufi  sages  rode  horse-headed  canes  called  zamal- 
zain,  "gala  limping  horse."  The  dervish's  stick-horse  stood  for  the 
Pegasus-like  fairy  steed  that  carried  him  to  heaven  and  back.6  Such 
customs  became  prevalent  among  the  Basques,  who  were  frequently 
accused  en  masse  of  witchcraft. 


At  times  a  witch's  broomstick  seems  to  have  been  nothing  more 
than  a  dildo,  anointed  with  the  famous  "flying  ointment"  and  used 
lor  genital  stimulation.7  French  witches  "flew"  this  way:  "With  an 
lintment  which  the  Devil  had  delivered  to  them  they  anointed  a 
Ivooden  rod  which  was  but  small,  and  their  palms  and  their  whole  hands 
likewise;  and  so,  putting  this  small  rod  between  their  legs,  straightway 
Ihey  flew  there  where  they  wished  to  be  . . .  and  the  Devil  guided 
Ihem."8  Certainly  churchmen  were  prone  to  describe  any  kind 
If  masturbation  as  guided  by  the  devil— women's  masturbation  most 
larticularly  so,  for  nothing  was  more  abhorrent  to  the  patriarchal 
Inind  than  the  thought  that  women  could  experience  sexual  pleasure 
wathout  men. 

Witches'  ointments  often  incorporated  such  drugs  as  aconite, 
leadily  absorbable  in  an  oil-based  liniment  through  skin  or  mucus 
Inembrane,  producing  symptoms  like  giddiness,  confusion,  lethargy, 
lingling  sensations  followed  by  numbness,  and  quite  possibly  the 
Illusion  of  flying.  Thus  Oldham  wrote: 

So  witches  some  enchanted  wand  bestride, 
And  think  they  through  the  airy  regions  ride. 9 

Because  of  their  ancient  association  with  pagan  midwives  and 
jheir  Christian  counterparts  the  witches,  broomsticks  took  on  an  accre- 
ion  of  similar  superstitions.  Witches'  familiar  spirits  were  said  to  be 
inable  to  cross  running  water;  hence,  it  became  "bad  luck"  to  move  a 
room  across  running  water.  It  was  also  "bad  luck"  to  burn  a  broom, 
ince  it  was  certainly  bad  luck  for  the  witch.10 

1.  Dumezil,  616.  2.  Trigg,  86-87.  3.  Spence,  148.  4.  Turville-Petre,  201. 
5.  Hazlitt,  25.  6.  Shah,  210, 223.  7.Ewen,78.  8.  de  Givry,  70.  9.  Hazlitt,  655. 


"he  Greek  word  for  brother  was  adelphos,  "one  from  the  same 
'omb,"  derived  from  the  matrilineal  family  when  only  maternal  parent- 
ood  was  recognized.  English  "brother"  stemmed  from  Sanskrit 
hratr,  "support."  In  pre-Vedic  India  it  was  the  duty  of  a  brother,  not  a 
usband,  to  help  support  a  woman  and  her  children.  Husbands  came 
nd  went,  but  the  matrilineal  clan  remained  stable.  As  an  old  proverb  of 
irab  women  said:  "A  husband  can  be  found,  a  son  can  be  born,  but  a 
rother  cannot  be  replaced." ' 

A  preference  for  brothers  over  husbands  may  be  found  in  many 
re-patriarchal  cultures.  Pagan  Slavic  women  considered  "by  my 
rother"  their  most  binding  oath.  In  pre-Christian  Norway,  rune  stones 
n  women's  graves  were  raised  by  their  brothers,  not  their  husbands.2 
indent  systems  of  clan  loyalty  were  similar  to  that  of  the  Nairs,  of 
horn  it  was  said  that  no  man  knew  his  father,  but  "every  man  looks 
n  his  sister's  children  as  his  heirs.  A  man's  mother  manages  his 




family;  and  after  her  death  his  eldest  sister  assumes  the  direction." 
Names  and  property  were  bequeathed  in  the  female  line.3 

The  uterine-sibling  bond  was  so  much  stronger  than  the  marriage 
bond  in  ancient  societies  that  the  ultimate  endearment  of  lovers  or 
spouses  was  to  call  each  other  "brother"  and  "sister."4  King  Solomon 
called  his  bride  "my  sister,  my  spouse"  (Song  of  Solomon  4:10)  with 
"sister"  in  the  place  of  honor.  An  Egyptian  wife  affectionately  addresse 
her  husband  as  "brother,  husband,  friend,"  in  that  order.5 

Weddings  sometimes  meant  making  bride  and  groom  pseudo- 
siblings  in  some  magical  way.  Polynesian  couples  were  not 
considered  truly  married  until  their  two  mothers  mingled  their  blood, 
signifying  that  the  married  pair  were  born  of  a  double,  or  merged, 
womb.6  Often,  the  bride  and  groom  mingled  their  own  blood;  this  was 
the  common  rite  of  gypsy  weddings.7 

Brother-sister  incest  was  customary  in  ancient  ruling  families, 
when  it  was  felt  that  a  king  and  queen  should  be  offspring  of  the  same 
mother,  so  the  true  line  of  succession  would  not  be  weakened.  Egyptiai 
pharaohs  married  their  sisters  as  a  matter  of  course  because  their 
thrones  were  inherited  through  the  female  line.8  One  pharaoh  with  onl 
one  son  and  one  daughter  suggested  to  his  wife  that  the  children 
might  marry  outside  the  family.  The  queen  angrily  rejected  the  idea: 
"Dost  thou  wrangle  with  me?  Even  if  I  have  no  children  after  those 
two  children,  is  it  not  the  law  to  marry  them  one  to  the  other?"9 

Brother-sister  incest  was  everywhere  the  practice  of  the  elder  gods 
and  goddesses,  many  of  whom  were  twins  who  copulated  even  in 
their  mother's  womb.  Examples  are  Isis  and  Osiris,  Artemis  and  Apollo 
Fauna  and  Faunus,  Diana  and  Dianus,  Zeus  and  Hera,  Yama  and 
Yami,  Freya  and  Frey.  According  to  Norse  skalds,  brother-sister  incest 
was  the  accepted  custom  of  the  Vanir  or  elder  deities.10 

Mythological  evidence  tends  to  destroy  the  modern  conception  oi 
Stone  Age  man  protecting  "his"  cave  with  "his"  mate  and  "their" 
children.  If  the  home  was  a  cave  or  anything  else,  it  was  probably 
selected,  furnished,  and  owned  by  the  female.  If  there  was  a  male 
protecting  it,  he  was  more  likely  to  have  been  a  sibling  than  a  mate.  In 
fact  there  were  no  monogamous  families  but  only  family  groups, 
centering  on  the  women  and  children  with  impregnating  males  a  loose 
changeable  periphery. 

1.  Briffault  1, 405,  498,  505.  2.  Oxenstiema,  212.  3.  Hartley,  152.  4.  Albright,  128. 
5.  Hartley,  195.  6.  Briffault  1,  559.  7.  Trigg,  88.  8.  Hooke,  S.P.,  256. 
9.  Maspero,  121.  10.  Turville-Petre,  172. 

var.  Buanann 


"Good  Mother,"  the  Irish  Goddess  as  a  cow,  recalling  Hathor  or 
Cow-Eyed  Hera  who  was  also  the  Irish  Goddess  Eriu  (Eire).1  Like  all 
other  versions  of  the  milk-giving  Mother  she  represented  wealth  or 
plenty.  Thus,  her  name  Ana  came  to  be  synonymous  with  abundance.' 

1.  Graves,  W.G.,  414.  2.  Joyce  1,  261. 


Buddhism  Buddhism 

Established  500  years  before  Christianity  and  widely  publicized 

throughout  the  Middle  East,  Buddhism  exerted  more  influence  on  early      ■^■m^bmi^^m 

Christianity  than  church  fathers  liked  to  admit,  since  they  viewed 

Oriental  religions  in  general  as  devil  worship. 

Legends  and  sayings  derived  from  Buddhism  appear  in  the  Gos- 
pels, disguised  as  "typically  Christian"  precepts,  including  the 
Golden  Rule.  The  Amogha  school  of  Buddhism  practiced  a  severe 
morality,  a  life  of  poverty  and  chastity  in  retirement  from  secular 
concerns,  and  the  expectation  of  a  Savior  coming  to  earth  in  the  near 
future.1  Buddhist  sages  provided  prototypes  of  Christian  miracles. 
They  were  said  to  walk  on  water,  to  speak  in  tongues,  and  to  ascend  to 
heaven  in  the  flesh.2  Jains  regarded  the  true  Buddhist  "hero"  (vira)  as 
"not  he  who  is  of  great  physical  strength  and  prowess,  the  great  eater 
and  drinker,  or  man  of  powerful  sexual  energy,  but  he  who  has 
controlled  his  senses,  is  a  truth-seeker,  ever  engaged  in  worship,  and 
who  has  sacrificed  lust  and  all  other  passions."3 

Buddha  is  more  properly  the  Buddha,  since  Buddha  was  not  a 
name  but  a  title,  the  "Enlightened  or  Blessed  One,"  comparable  to 
Christos,  "the  Anointed  One."  Buddha  had  many  other  names  because 
he  had  already  lived  through  many  incarnations  on  earth.  Even  the 
Buddha  supposed  to  have  appeared  in  the  5  th  century  B.C.  had  several 
names:  Gautama,  Sakyamuni,  Siddhartha — the  last,  again,  not  a 
name  but  a  title,  "Rich  in  Yogic  Power."  Buddha  was  miraculously 
begotten  by  the  Lord  of  Hosts  and  born  of  the  Virgin  Maya,  the 
same  Great  Goddess  worshipped  throughout  Asia  and  having  the 
alternative  Near-Eastern  names  of  Maia,  Marah,  Mari,  or  Maria.4 

Many  Buddhas  who  had  already  come  and  gone  were  bodhisattvas 
or  saints,  sometimes  simply  known  as  Buddhas.  Any  sage  might 
become  a  bodhisattva  through  devotion  to  the  holy  life.  But  one  true 
Buddha  remained  to  come  again  to  earth.  He  was  Maitreya,  the 
Master,  or  the  Future  Buddha,  similar  to  the  being  known  as  Kalki,  the 
last  avatar  of  the  god  Vishnu  who  would  appear  with  the  approach  of 
doomsday.  The  final  coming  of  the  Savior  would  signal  the  end  of  the 
present  world.  He  would  judge  the  righteous,  and  annihilate  the 
wicked,  and  make  everything  ready  for  the  ultimate  creation  of  a  new 
heaven  and  a  new  earth.5 

These  were  basic  ideas  of  Christianity  as  well  as  Buddhism:  simple, 
easy  to  understand,  dramatic,  and  appropriately  aligned  with  arche- 
typal hopes  and  fears.  The  more  subtle  teachings  of  Buddhism,  like 
those  of  Christianity,  apparently  developed  out  of  group  thinking  of 
subsequent  sectaries,  especially  the  more  ascetic  sort.  Yet — again,  as  in 
Christianity — the  ascetics  were  unable  to  blot  out  the  rich,  colorful 
sensuality  of  "pagan"  Hinduism.  Although  they  claimed  Buddha  said 
the  true  sage  must  never  see  or  speak  to  a  woman,  must  avoid 
feminine  creatures  like  the  plague,  yet  within  a  few  centuries  the 
worship  of  the  Goddess  reasserted  itself  and  all  the  bodhisattvas  were 
provided  with  Shaktis  who  would  welcome  them  to  eternal  sexual  bliss 


Buddhism  in  heaven.  "Tantric"  Buddhism  re-assimilated  the  feminine  principle. 

Until  the  advent  of  Islam,  the  original  Buddhist  asceticism  was  largely 

^^^^^^^^^^^^  forgotten  except  for  a  few  eremitic  groups.  A  well-known  aphorism 
said:  Buddhatvam  yosidyonisamsritam,  "Buddhahood  resides  in  the 
vulva  (yoni)."6 

Buddhist  legends  reveal  the  constant  tension  between  ascetic  and 
sensual  elements.  It  was  said  Buddha  wanted  his  brother  Nanda  to 
become  a  monk,  but  Nanda  was  too  much  in  love  with  his  beautiful 
mistress.  So  Buddha  played  a  trick  on  him.  He  took  Nanda  to  heaven 
and  showed  him  the  celestial  nymphs,  who  were  so  desirable  that  Nanda 
instantly  forgot  the  mortal  woman  he  had  loved.  Buddha  then  told 
him  these  nymphs  could  be  won  only  by  a  life  of  rigorous  self-denial 
and  meditation.  Nanda  agreed  to  join  the  monkish  order.  The  ascetic 
life  soon  purged  him  of  all  desires,  and  he  became  as  celibate  as  Buddha 
had  wished — but  only  because  of  his  overwhelming  lust  for  a  tran- 
scendent sexual  experience!7 

Like  their  western  counterparts  in  later  centuries,  Buddhist  monks 
self-consciously  threatened  the  Goddess  with  destruction,  even 
though  her  virgin  form  had  given  birth  to  their  Savior.  A  Buddhist 
hymn  said,  "This  time  I  shall  devour  thee  utterly,  Mother  Kali;  for  I 
was  born  under  an  evil  star — and  one  so  born  becomes,  they  say,  the 
eater  of  his  mother."8 

Stories  of  the  Buddha  and  his  many  incarnations  circulated  inces- 
santly throughout  the  ancient  world,  especially  since  Buddhist  monks 
traveled  to  Egypt,  Greece,  and  Asia  Minor  four  centuries  before  Christ, 
to  spread  their  doctrines.9  Ascetics  like  the  Essenes  were  certainly 
influenced  by  them.  Christians  continued  to  hear  tales  of  Buddhist 
origin,  and  to  relate  them  rather  naively  to  their  own  beliefs.  Buddha 
himself  entered  the  Christian  canon  as  a  saint — St.  Josaphat,  a  corrup- 
tion of  Bodhisat — when  John  of  Damascus  wrote  down  his  life  story 
in  the  8th  century  a.d.10  Buddha  the  Christian  saint  was  supplied  with 
a  companion  called  Barlaam,  who  converted  the  Indian  prince  to  a 
Christian  asceticism  despite  his  royal  father's  efforts  to  thwart  this 

Many  scholars  have  pointed  out  that  the  basic  tenets  of  Christian- 
ity were  basic  tenets  of  Buddhism  first;  but  it  is  also  true  that  the 
ceremonies  and  trappings  of  both  religions  were  more  similar  than 
either  has  wanted  to  acknowledge. 

Buddhism  has  much  in  common  with  Roman  Catholic  Christianity, 
having  its  purgatory,  its  Goddess  of  Mercy,  and  its  elaborate  machinery 
for  delivering  the  dead  from  pain  and  misery  through  the  good  offices  of 
the  priests.  Among  other  similarities  may  be  mentioned  celibacy, 
fasting,  use  of  candles  and  flowers  on  the  altar,  incense,  holy  water, 
rosaries,  priestly  garments,  worship  of  relics,  canonization  of  saints,  use 
of  a  dead  language  for  the  liturgy  and  ceremonials  generally.  The  trinity  of 
Buddhas,  past,  present,  and  future,  is  compared  by  some  to  the  Father, 
Son,  and  Holy  Ghost.  The  immaculate  mother  of  Shakyamuni,  whose 
name  Maya  is  strikingly  similar  to  that  of  Mary,  the  mother  of  Jesus,  is 



also  to  be  noticed,  while  Buddha's  temptation  on  Vulture  Peak  by  Mara 

the  Evil  One,  may  also  be  contrasted  with  the  similar  temptation  of 

Our  Lord. . . .  The  worship  of  ancestors  is  in  some  measure  akin  to  the 

saying  of  masses  for  the  dead,  and  at  one  time  the  Jesuits  considered  it  a  ^^^^^™^"" 

harmless  observance  and  tolerated  it  in  their  converts.  Finally  the  Dalai 

Lama  is  a  spiritual  sovereign  closely  resembling  the  Pope.  '2 

1.  Avalon.211.  2.  Tatz  &  Kent,.  167,  200;  Waddell,  159. 

3.  Muhnnirvmwtuntra,  cxii.  4.  Larousse,  348.  5.  Lx'musse,  374. 

6.  Campbell,  Or.  M.,  302,  352.  7.  Rawson,  E.A.,  184.  8  Wilson  257 

9.  Campbell,  CM.,  146.  10.  Muller,  313.  11.  Attwater,  58.  12.  Williams,  355. 


From  "Bulgar,"  French  Bougre.  The  modern  meaning  stemmed 
from  the  Roman  church's  charge  that  medieval  Bulgarians  practiced 
sexual  perversions  in  their  churches.  Bulgarian  Paulicians  were 
anathematized  for  disobeying  the  Roman  pope,  setting  up  their  own 
churches  independent  of  Rome,  and  admitting  women  to  clerical 
office  on  an  equal  basis  with  men.1 

Bosnian  Patarenes  were  also  called  buggers,  since  they  modeled 
their  national  church  on  that  of  Bulgaria.  About  1200  a.d.  the  papacy 
launched  "a  cruel  war  against  the  Bosnian  Patarenes,  which  lasted  two 
and  a  half  centuries,  and  finally  culminated  in  the  acceptance,  on 
their  part,  of  the  Mohammedan  faith  and  in  becoming  Turks,  rather 
than  submit  to  the  Roman  See."2 

Religious  wars  led  the  Balkans  into  social  chaos.  Heretics  were 
hunted  down  like  animals,  and  tortured.  Lands  belonging  to  the 
heretic  magnates  (nobles)  were  seized  and  handed  over  to  their  Catholic 
enemies.  The  heretics  for  their  part  continued  to  regard  themselves 
as  the  only  true  Christian  nations.  Under  the  anti-Roman  Code  of 
Stephen,  Catholic  priests  who  tried  to  convert  Balkan  Christians  back 
to  "the  Latin  faith"  were  declared  criminals.3  Quarrels  and  conflicts 
persisted  up  to  the  present  century. 

1.  Knight,  D.W.P.,  176.  2.  Spinka,  147.  3.  Spinka,  167-68. 


The  biblical  title  translated  "God"  is  El,  originally  the  title  of  the 
Phoenician  bull-god  called  Father  of  Men.  As  the  "supreme  god  of  the 
Semitic  pantheon,  El  was  worshipped  throughout  Syria  alongside  the 
local  gods,  or  Ba'als,  one  of  his  titles,  indeed,  being  'the  Bull.' " '  Like 
Zeus  the  Bull,  consort  of  Hera-Europa-Io  the  white  Moon-Cow,  El 
married  Asherah,  the  Semitic  sacred  Cow.  He  was  identified  with  Elias 
or  Helios,  the  sun.  He  was  still  the  Semitic  Father  of  Men  in  the  time 
of  Jesus,  who  cried  to  him  from  the  cross,  calling  him  Father  (Mark 

Nearly  every  god  of  the  ancient  world  was  incarnate  sooner  or  later 
in  a  bull.  The  Cretan  moon-king  called  Minos  inhabited  a  succession  of 
Minotaurs  (moon-bulls),  who  were  sacrificed  as  the  king's  surrogates. 


Bull  Yama,  the  Hindu  Lord  of  Death,  wore  a  bull's  head  and  became  the 

underworld  judge,  like  Minos.2  Shiva  was  incarnate  in  the  white  bull 
^^^^^^^^^^^      Nandi.3  The  real  reason  King  Nebuchadnezzar  "ate  grass"  probably 
was  that  his  soul  temporarily  entered  into  the  body  of  the  divine 
sacrificial  bull  (Daniel  4:33).  Court  prophets  of  the  kings  of  Israel  put 
on  bull  masks  to  represent  the  king  while  casting  spells  for  his  victory 
over  his  enemies  (1  Kings  22:1 1).4 

Bull  worship  was  a  large  part  of  Mithraism.  The  bull's  blood  was 
credited  with  power  to  produce  all  creatures  on  earth  without  the  aid  of 
the  cow,  though  her  power  was  implicit  in  that  the  bull's  blood  was 
taken  up  and  magically  treated  by  the  Moon.  The  bull  was  consecrated 
to  Anahita,  a  Persian  name  of  the  Moon-goddess  whom  the  Greeks 
called  Artemis  Tauropolos,  "Bull-Slayer,"  of  whom  the  bull-slaying 
savior  Mithra  was  a  late,  masculinized  form.5  Like  most  patriarchal 
symbols,  those  of  the  Mithraic  cult  were  copied  from  myths  of  the 
Asian  Goddess.  A  statue  of  Kali  in  the  Ellora  caves  shows  her  in  the 
pose  typical  of  Mithra,  holding  up  the  nose  of  the  sacrificial  bull  and 
preparing  to  slaughter  it.6 

The  bull  was  killed  for  a  baptism  of  blood  at  the  Roman  Taurobo- 
lium  in  honor  of  Attis,  Cybele,  or  Mithra.  "A  trench  was  dug  over 
which  was  erected  a  platform  of  planks  with  perforations  and  gaps. 
Upon  the  platform  the  sacrificial  bull  was  slaughtered,  whose  blood 
dripped  through  upon  the  initiate  in  the  trench  ...  he  turned  round  and 
held  up  his  neck  that  the  blood  might  trickle  upon  his  lips,  ears,  eyes, 
and  nostrils;  he  moistened  his  tongue  with  the  blood,  which  he 
than  drank  as  a  sacramental  act.  Greeted  by  the  spectators,  he  came 
forth  from  this  bloody  baptism  believing  that  he  was  purified  from  his 
sins  and  'born  again  for  eternity.'  "7  The  participant  in  the  Taurobo- 
lium  acted  out  literally  what  Christians  called  washing  in  the  blood  of 
the  lamb. 

Egypt's  savior  Osiris  was  worshipped  in  bull  form  as  Apis-Osiris, 
the  Moon-bull  of  Egypt,  annually  slain  in  atonement  for  the  sins  of  the 
realm.8  In  the  ceremony  of  his  rebirth,  he  appeared  as  the  Golden  Calf, 
Horus,  born  of  Isis  whose  image  was  a  golden  cow.  The  same  Golden 
Calf  was  adored  by  the  Israelites  under  Aaron  (Exodus  32:4). 

The  Orphic  god  Dionysus  also  took  the  form  of  a  bull;  one  of  his 
earlier  incarnations  was  the  Cretan  bull-god  Zagreus,  "the  Goodly 
Bull,"  a  son  and  reincarnation  of  Zeus,  and  another  version  of  the 
Minotaur.  The  god  was  a  bull  on  earth,  and  a  serpent  in  his  subterra- 
nean, regenerating  phase.  The  Orphic  formula  ran:  "The  bull  is  the 
father  of  the  serpent,  and  the  serpent  is  the  father  of  the  bull."9 
Dionysus  was  reincarnated  over  and  over,  and  there  were  some  who 
identified  him  with  the  Persian  Messiah.  In  the  Book  of  Enoch, 
the  Messiah  is  represented  as  a  white  bull.10 

Athenian  legends  of  the  Moerae  or  Fates  compared  all  men  to 
the  sacrificial  bull  sentenced  to  death  at  the  hands  of  Fate  sooner  or 
later.  Medieval  superstition  called  the  Fate-goddess  Mora,  a  nocturnal 
spirit  who  roams  the  world  seizing  men  and  crushing  them  until  they 


"roar  like  bulls."  She  was  also  Christianized  as  St.  Maura,  on  whose  Buto 

sacred  day  women  were  forbidden  to  sew,  lest  they  "cut  the  thread  of  Byelobog 

life"  after  the  manner  of  the  Moerae.11  ^^^^-^_^^_^ 

In  medieval  England,  Twelfth  Night  games  featured  remnants  of 
bull  worship.  A  large  cake  with  a  hole  in  the  center  was  thrown  over  the 
bull's  horn,  to  form  a  lingam-yoni.  The  bull  was  then  tickled,  "to  make 
him  toss  his  head."  If  he  threw  the  cake  behind  him,  it  belonged  to  the 
mistress;  if  in  front,  it  belonged  to  the  bailiff.12  This  ceremony  probably 
derived  from  an  ancient  custom  of  divination.  Like  all  sacrificial  victims 
already  dedicated  to  the  supernatural  realm,  the  bull  was  believed  to 
have  prophetic  powers. 

1.  Larousse,  74.  2.  Campbell,  ML,  409.  3.  Campbell,  Or.M,  90. 
4.  Hooke,  S.P.,  160.  5.  Cumont,  M.M.,  20,  137.  6.  Ross,  40.  7.  Angus  94-95 
8.  Budge,  G.E.  2,  349.  9.  Legge,  39.  10.  Hooke,  S.P.,  138.  11.  Lawson,  175. 
12.  Hazlitt,  603. 


Greek  name  for  the  Egyptian  serpent-goddess  Per-Uatchet,  also 
called  Uraeus,  Anqet,  Iusaset,  Mehen  the  Enveloper,  etc.1  With  Nekh- 
bet  the  vulture-goddess,  she  co-ruled  the  Two  Lands  as  the  Nebti, 
the  Two  Mistresses.2  Like  the  Two  Ladies  of  the  ancient  Middle  East, 
they  were  twin  spirits  of  birth  and  death.  See  Serpent. 

1.  Norman,  48;  Budge,  G.E.  2,  57.  2.  Larousse,  29. 


Oldest,  most  famous  seat  of  the  Semitic  Great  Goddess,  variously 
known  as  Mari,  Astarte,  Asherah,  Ashtoreth,  Ishtar,  Isis,  or  Hathor. 
"Bibles"  were  named  after  her  city  because  the  earliest  libraries  were 
attached  to  her  temple.  (See  Bible.)  Kings  of  Byblos  received  their 
mandate  from  the  Goddess  before  they  could  rule.  King  Yehawmilk 
for  instance  said  she  placed  him  and  his  predecessors  on  the  throne. 
When  invoked  as  Mistress,  "she  heard  my  voice  and  treated  me 
kindly."  The  king  begged  her  to  bless  him  and  prolong  his  years  in 

Recently  it  has  been  found  that  earlier  archeological  scholars 
misread  the  words  "Lady  of  Byblos"  in  Aramaic  texts  referring  to  the 
Goddess,  and  translated  these  words  "Lord  of  Byblos"  instead.1  In 
reality  there  was  never  any  god  in  Byblos  whose  power  equalled  that 
of  the  many-named  Lady. 

l.Pritchard,A.N.E.  1,215,221. 


Slavic  "White  God,"  a  heavenly  deity  opposed  to  the  Black  God, 
Chernobog.  Both  were  variants  of  the  ancient  Persian  adversaries  in 
heaven  and  the  underworld,  who  would  engage  in  the  final  battle 
between  forces  of  good  and  evil,  at  the  end  of  the  world.  See 


Caryatids.  Carved  pillars 
from  the  Acropolis. 
Greek,  2nd  century  b.c. 

St.  Catherine,  by 
Lorenzetti.  Sienese, 
about  1335  a.d. 

Bronze  cat  with  one 

earring.  Late 

Dynastic  Egypt  (ca.  2000 



var.  Kabbalah 

Giovanni  Pico  della 

1494).  Italian 
nobleman,  philosopher 
and  scholar,  declared 
a  heretic  for  his 
attempts  to  unite 
Christian  theology  with 
Cabalistic  doctrine. 


Medieval  Jewish  mystical  system  obviously  influenced  by  Tantrism 
and  Sufism,  like  the  Christian  courtly-love  movement  of  the  same 
period.  The  Cabala's  basic  premise  was  that  all  the  world's  ills 
stemmed  from  God's  loss  of  contact  with  his  female  counterpart,  the 
Shekina,  a  Hebraic  version  of  Shakti.  God  is  fragmented,  and  only 
the  Shekina  has  power  to  "put  God  back  together." '  Universal  harmo- 
ny must  be  restored  by  making  God  and  his  Goddess  once  more 

Sexual  union  of  mortals  was  thought  to  create  its  like  on  the  plane 
of  the  divine.  Therefore  sexual  intercourse  was  a  sacramental  act 
helpful  to  God  and  the  Shekina.  "The  efflorescence  of  such  beliefs  into 
orgiastic  rites  suggests  itself  too  readily  not  to  be  attempted,  and  in- 
deed, in  the  further  development  of  Kabbalistic  doctrine,  such  attempts 
were  made."5  Generally,  however,  the  cabalist  confined  his  erotic 
experiments  to  his  legal  wife.  The  first  step  in  his  ascent  of  the 
Sephiroth  or  Tree  of  Knowledge  was  the  female  sexual  power, 
Shekina-Malkuth,  Queen  and  Bride,  represented  by  the  moon  and  the 
spouse.4  Further  steps  made  use  of  elaborate  systems  of  numerology, 
magic,  and  scriptural  allegory,  yielding  successive  revelations  of  the 
divine  nature. 

The  major  cabalistic  work  was  the  Sefer  ha-Zohar,  "Book  of 
Splendor,"  composed  in  the  late  1 3th  century  by  Moses  de  Leon  of 
Guadalajara,  who  claimed  its  real  author  was  the  legendary  2nd-century 
mystic  Simeon  ben  Yohai.  He  pretended  to  have  the  ancient  original 
of  the  book  in  his  possession,  but  it  was  never  produced.  Scholars  have 
concluded  that  it  never  existed,  and  de  Leon  wrote  the  Sefer  ha- 
Zohar  himself.5 

Despite  its  Jewish  orientation,  the  Cabala  exerted  a  strong  appeal 
for  contemporary  Christian  mystics.  It  has  been  much  in  the  favor  of 
occultists  ever  since.  Pico  della  Mirandola  even  professed  to  find  in  the 
Cabala  what  the  Jews  themselves  denied:  the  incarnation  of  full 
godhood  in  Jesus.  He  wrote:  "No  science  offers  greater  assurance  of 
Christ's  divinity  than  magic  and  the  Cabala."6  See  Hexagram; 

l.Lederer,  186.  2.  Encyc.  Brit,  "Cabala."  3.  Lederer,  188.  4.  Cavendish,  T.,  52, 74. 
5.  Encyc.  Brit,  "Cabala."  6.  Shumaker,  16. 


Title  of  Demeter  as  the  Goddess  of  the  Cabirian  Mysteries  in  Phrygia 
Samothrace,  and  other  areas,  second  only  to  the  Eleusinian  Mysteries 
in  importance.  Her  consort  was  the  Young  God,  variously  known  as 
Dionysus,  Ganymede,  or  Cabirius.  In  Thebes  the  Great  Goddess 


was  called  Demeter  Cabiria,  sometimes  a  trinity  of  "three  Cabirian  Caduceus 

nymphs."  Her  sexual  union  with  the  god  was  represented  by  the  Caillech 

same  symbol  as  in  India  and  Egypt:  water  poured  from  a  male  vessel  ^^^^^^^^^«-i 

into  a  female  one.1  (See  Jar-bearer.)  Because  of  its  ancient  erotic 
connotations,  Cabiria  became  a  common  witch-name  in  medieval 

1.  Neumann,  G.M.,  324-25. 


Some  Gnostic  Christians  worshipped  the  serpent  hung  on  a  cross, 
rod,  or  Tree  of  Life,  calling  it  Christ  the  Savior,  also  a  title  of  Hermes 
the  Wise  Serpent  represented  by  his  own  holy  caduceus,  the  scepter 
of  two  serpents.  This  was  one  of  the  oldest  and  most  revered  holy 
symbols.  "The  usual  mythological  association  of  the  serpent  is  not,  as 
in  the  Bible,  with  corruption,  but  with  physical  and  spiritual  health,  as  in 
the  Greek  caduceus."  To  Sumerians  it  was  an  emblem  of  life, 
appearing  on  art  works  like  the  Libation  Cup  of  Gudea,  ca.  2000  b.c.  In 
pre-Hellenic  Greece  the  caduceus  was  displayed  on  healing  temples 
like  those  of  Asclepius,  Hygeia,  and  Panacea,  which  is  why  it  is  still  an 
international  symbol  of  the  medical  profession.  The  caduceus  is 
found  also  in  Aztec  sacred  art,  enthroned  like  a  serpent-deity  on  an 
altar.  North  American  Indians  knew  it  too.  A  Navaho  medicine  man 
said  his  people's  sacred  cave  once  featured  "a  stone  carving  of  two 
snakes  intertwined,  the  heads  facing  east  and  west." ' 

Hindu  symbolism  equated  the  caduceus  with  the  central  spirit  of 
the  human  body,  the  spinal  column,  with  two  mystic  serpents  twined 
around  it  like  the  genetic  double  helix:  ida-nadiio  the  left,  pingala-nadi 
to  the  right.2 

Moses's  brazen  serpent  on  a  pole,  the  mere  sight  of  which  cured 
the  Israelites,  was  probably  a  prophylactic  caduceus  (Numbers  21:9). 
It  was  named  Nehushtan,  and  worshipped  in  the  tabernacle  up  to  the 
reign  of  Hezekiah  (2  Kings  18:4).  See  Hermes. 

1.  Campbell,  M.  I.,  282-84, 286-88, 294-95.  2.  Bardo  Thodol,  215. 


Old  Celtic  name  for  Kali-the-Crone,  the  Great  Goddess  in  her 
Destroyer  aspect.  Like  Kali,  the  Caillech  was  a  black  Mother  who 
founded  many  races  of  people  and  outlived  many  husbands.  She  was 
also  a  creatress.  She  made  the  world,  building  mountain  ranges  of  stones 
that  dropped  from  her  apron.1 

Scotland  was  once  called  Caledonia:  the  land  given  by  Kali,  or 


Cain  Cale,  or  the  Caillech.  "Scotland"  came  from  Scotia,  the  same 

Goddess,  known  to  Romans  as  a  "dark  Aphrodite";  to  Celts  as  Scatha  or 

^^^^^^^^^^^m      Scyth;  and  to  Scandinavians  as  Skadi.2 

Like  the  Hindus'  destroying  Kalika,  the  Caillech  was  known  as  a 
spirit  of  disease.  One  manifestation  of  her  was  a  famous  idol  of  carved 
and  painted  wood,  kept  by  an  old  family  in  County  Cork,  and  described 
as  the  Goddess  of  Smallpox.  As  diseased  persons  in  India  sacrificed  to 
the  appropriate  incarnation  of  the  Kalika,  so  in  Ireland  those  afflicted  by 
smallpox  sacrificed  sheep  to  this  image.3  It  can  hardly  be  doubted  that 
Kalika  and  Caillech  were  the  same  word. 

According  to  various  interpretations,  caillech  meant  either  an  old 
woman,  or  a  hag,  or  a  nun,  or  a  'Veiled  one."4  This  last  apparently 
referred  to  the  Goddess's  most  mysterious  manifestation  as  the  future, 
Fate,  and  Death — ever  veiled  from  the  sight  of  men,  since  no  man 
could  know  the  manner  of  his  own  death. 

In  medieval  legend  the  Caillech  became  the  Black  Queen  who 
ruled  a  western  paradise  in  the  Indies,  where  men  were  used  in 
Amazonian  fashion  for  breeding  purposes  only,  then  slain.  Spaniards 
called  her  Califia,  whose  territory  was  rich  in  gold,  silver,  and  gems. 
Spanish  explorers  later  gave  her  name  to  their  newly  discovered  paradise 
on  the  Pacific  shore  of  North  America,  which  is  how  the  state  of 
California  came  to  be  named  after  Kali. 

In  the  present  century,  Irish  and  Scottish  descendants  of  the  Celtic 
"creatress"  still  use  the  word  caillech  as  a  synonym  for  "old 
woman." 5 

l.Rees,41.  2.  Graves,  W.  C,  131.  3.  Squire,  413.  4.  Joyce  1 ,  3 1 6. 
5.Frazer,G.  B.,467. 


"Smith,"  Mother  Eve's  firstborn,  begotten  by  the  serpent  and  not  by 
Adam,  according  to  rabbinical  tradition.  The  Bible  says  Cain's  murder 
of  his  brother  Abel  was  caused  by  jealousy,  after  God  accepted  Abel's 
blood  sacrifice  but  rejected  Cain's  offering  of  vegetable  firstfruits. 
Fearing  to  depart  from  this  precedent,  the  Jews  offered  blood 
sacrifices  to  Yahweh  up  to  the  early  Christian  era. 

The  Bible  story  was  a  Hebraic  repetition  of  the  Persian  myth  of 
Ahriman  and  Ahura  Mazda,  who  offered  sacrifices  to  an  elder  deity, 
Vayu.  Ahriman  was  declared  a  traitor  and  devil  when  his  offering  was 
refused.1  Indo-Iranian  priests  used  to  pray  the  gods  to  accept  their 
own  sacrifices,  and  refuse  those  of  other  arya  (men).2  Ahriman  was  the 
ancestor  of  those  other  arya,  since  his  original  Hindu  name  was 
Aryaman,  father  of  men. 

The  myth  of  Cain  was  based  on  primitive  sacrificial  magic,  as 
shown  by  certain  internal  inconsistencies.  God  placed  a  curse  on 


Cain,  at  the  same  time  protecting  him  with  a  mark  of  immunity.  Hooke 
explains  part  of  the  ritual  fertility  sacrifice: 

The  sacrificer  is  defiled  by  his  act.  ...It  is  this  which  explains  why  the 
slayer  enjoys  ritual  protection  . . .  the  most  likely  explanation  of  the 
mark  is  that  it  represents  a  tattoo  mark  or  other  indication  that  the  fugitive 
belonged  to  a  sacred  class.  We  have  evidence  from  Hebrew  sources 
that  the  prophets  bore  such  marks. . . .  Tammuz,  who  bears  the  title  of 
"the  Shepherd, "  dies,  or  is  ritually  slain,  during  the  period  of  summer 
drought . . .  and  his  official  slayer  was  obliged  to  flee  in  order  to  remove 
the  ceremonial  guilt  of  the  slaying  from  the  community. 3 

Such  comparisons  are  needed  to  solve  the  dilemma  of  those 
theologians  who,  through  the  centuries,  have  been  helpless  to  explain 
God's  apparent  blunder  in  protecting  Cain  from  nonexistent  ene- 
mies, when  there  were  as  yet  no  people  in  the  world  but  Cain  and  his 
parents.  Actually,  the  sacred  caste  of  Cainite  smiths  worshipped  the 
Goddess  and  dedicated  sacrifices  of  the  Good  Shepherd  to  her  as  the 
Earth,  who  "opened  her  mouth"  for  Abel's  blood  (Genesis  4:1 1). 
Cain's  myth  reflects  the  patriarchs'  hostility  toward  this  caste.4  Eventual- 
ly, they  drove  all  the  smiths  out  of  their  country,  and  had  to  send  their 
tools  to  the  Philistines  for  repair  because  "there  was  no  smith  found 
throughout  all  the  land  of  Israel"  (1  Samuel  13:19).  Before  the  ban 
on  smithcraft,  however,  they  had  the  famous  Tubal-cain,  "instructor  of 
every  artificer  in  brass  and  iron"  (Genesis  4:22).  The  fraternity  of 
smiths  was  of  Midianite  origin,  and  may  have  inflicted  a  certain  leg 
injury  upon  initiates,  which  could  have  been  the  mark  of  Cain.  The 
Hebrew  word  for  Passover,  Pesach,  meant  "to  dance  with  a  limp."5 
The  festival  of  Pesach  was  associated  with  the  Midianites  or  Kenites 
(Cainites,  "children  of  Cain"),  who  were  famed  as  miners  and  smiths, 
and  worshipped  the  Great  Mother  in  the  copper  mines  of  Sinai. 

According  to  the  Sinai  tablets,  Semitic  metalworkers  called  their 
deity  Elath-Yahu,  a  combination  of  Yahweh  and  El-Lat  or  Allatu,  Lady 
of  the  Underworld;  but  she  was  also  identified  with  celestial  Hathor.6 
The  Cainites  migrated  from  northern  Syria,  where  their  smith  god 
formerly  occupied  the  volcanic  mountain  Jebel-Al-Aqra,  a  seat  of  Baal 
in  the  Ras  Shamra  texts.7  The  Mosaic  Yahweh  was  a  volcano-god 
like  this  Midianite  Baal,  or  like  limping  Hephaestus  and  Latin  Vulcanus, 
gods  represented  by  "a  pillar  of  cloud  by  day,  and  a  pillar  of  fire  by 
night"  (Exodus  13:21-22). 

Exodus  2:16  says  Moses  was  adopted  by  the  Midianite  smiths 
through  his  marriage  to  their  priestess,  one  of  the  usual  sacred 
number  of  seven  sisters.  Prominent  in  the  clan  were  such  artisans  as 
Bezaleel,  maker  of  the  ark  of  the  covenant,  who  was  filled  "with  the 
spirit  of  God,  in  wisdom,  in  understanding,  and  in  knowledge,  and  in  all 
manner  of  workmanship;  and  to  devise  curious  works,  to  work  in 
gold,  and  in  silver,  and  in  brass"  (Exodus  35:31-32).  The  word  here 



Callisto  translated  "God"apparently  meant  the  spirit  of  Elath-Yahu.  But 

Candlemas  Moses  quarreled  with  his  Midianite  wife,  apparently  over  his  attempt  to 

^^^^^^^^^^^      institute  the  Egyptian  custom  of  circumcision  (Exodus  4:25)  and 
they  were  divorced  (Exodus  18:2).  Subsequently,  smithcraft  dis- 
appeared from  Israel  after  a  long-remembered  feud  that  imputed  the 
crime  of  fratricide  to  Moses's  followers,  though  their  priestly  tradition 
was  to  lay  it  on  Cain.  The  account  in  Exodus  32  shows  that  the 
victims  were  not  shepherds,  but  Cainites: 

Moses  stood  in  the  gate  of  the  camp,  and  said,  Who  is  on  the  Lord's  side? 
let  him  come  unto  me.  And  all  the  sons  of  Levi  gathered  themselves 
together  unto  him.  And  he  said  unto  them,  Thus  saith  the  Lord  God  of 
Israel,  Put  every  man  his  sword  by  his  side,  and  go  in  and  out  from  gate 
to  gate  throughout  the  camp,  and  slay  every  man  his  brother,  and  every 
man  his  companion,  and  every  man  his  neighbor.  And  the  children  of 
Levi  did  according  to  the  word  of  Moses:  and  there  fell  of  the  people  that 
day  about  three  thousand  men.  (Exodus  32:26-28) 

In  later  ages,  Cain  became  a  demi-devil,  in  the  view  of  religious 

authorities  who  failed  to  notice  that  the  true  brother-slayers  were  Moses's 

followers.  Or,  if  they  did  notice,  they  regarded  the  killing  of  three 

thousand  as  less  important  than  the  killing  of  one.  In  folklore,  Cain 

remained  attached  to  the  diabolized  matriarchal  tradition:  he  was  the 

man  in  the  moon.8  A  German  tale  said  the  man  in  the  moon  refused  to 

keep  God's  sabbath,  the  Sun-day.  Therefore  he  was  sent  to  the  moon, 

and  a  saint  informed  him:  "As  you  value  not  Sunday  on  earth,  yours 

shall  be  a  perpetual  Moon-day  in  heaven."9 

l.Larousx,  323.  2.  Dume/il.425.  3.  Hooke.S.R, 69-71.  4.  Hooke,  M.E.M.,  124. 
5.  Graves,  W.G.,  358.  6.  Graves,  W.G.,  368.  7.  Gray,  108.  8.  Briffault  2, 629. 
9.  Baring-Gould,  C.M.M.A.,  192. 


"Fairest  One,"  a  title  of  Artemis  as  totemic  She-Bear  and  mother 
of  Areas,  the  Little  Bear.  Calliste  was  an  old  name  for  Artemis's  sacred 
island  Thera  (She-Beast).  Hellenic  writers  said  the  Attic  rites  of 
Artemis  involved  young  girls  dressed  as  the  She-bear,  which  gave  rise  to 
the  myth  of  Callisto,  a  nymph  who  lost  her  virginity  to  Zeus  and  gave 
birth  to  the  bear-child.  They  were  placed  in  heaven  as  Ursa  Major  and 
Ursa  Minor.1  Of  course  the  nymph  was  the  virgin  aspect  of  the 
Goddess  herself. 

1.  Graves,  G.M.  1, 86;  W.G,  185. 


Because  it  fell  forty  days  after  Christmas,  Candlemas  became  the 
Festival  of  the  Purification  of  the  Virgin  according  to  the  Judeo- 
Christian  rule  that  women  must  be  "purified"  forty  days  after 


childbirth,  an  event  which  the  patriarchs  claimed  rendered  a  mother  Cannibalism 

ritually  unclean.  The  Bible  specifies  forty  days  of  impurity  following 

the  birth  of  a  son,  and  eighty  days  following  the  birth  of  a  daughter,  ^^^^^^^^^ 

since  females  were  supposed  to  be  twice  as  unclean  as  males 

(Leviticus  12:2-5).  The  Christian  God  also  considered  new  mothers 

unclean,  and  would  not  allow  a  woman  to  enter  a  church  until  the 

proper  time  had  elapsed  after  her  delivery.  Her  ritual  purification  was 

known  as  "churching." 

The  Council  of  Trullus  once  tried  to  abolish  the  festival  of 
Candlemas,  on  the  ground  that  in  giving  birth  to  Christ,  the  Virgin 
"suffered  no  pollution,  and  therefore  needed  no  purification." 

But  Candlemas  was  not  originally  a  Christian  festival.  To  Roman 
pagans,  it  was  the  day  honoring  Juno  Februata  as  the  virgin  mother 
of  Mars.  Like  the  Lupercalia  two  weeks  later,  the  day  commemorated 
the  Goddess  who  engendered  the  "fever"  (febris)  of  love.1  Christian 
authorities  said  the  pagan  people  went  about  Rome  with  "candles 
burning  in  worship  of  this  woman  Februa."  Pope  Sergius  renamed 
the  holy  day  "to  undo  this  foul  use  and  custom,  and  turn  it  onto  God's 
worship  and  our  Lady's ...  so  that  now  this  feast  is  solemnly  hal- 
lowed through  all  Christendom."2  Still,  Candlemas  was  properly 
considered  sacred  to  women  and  to  the  Goddess  of  Love.5  Among 
Celtic  pagans  it  was  the  Feast  of  Imbolg,  which  stood  opposite  the  great 
festival  of  Lammas  in  the  old  sacred  year. 

Omens  were  taken  on  Candlemas  Day  for  the  new  growing 
season,  especially  its  weather.  Therefore  animals  were  said  to  come 
out  of  hibernation  to  provide  helpful  predictions  for  the  end  of  winter; 
which  is  why  it  is  now  Groundhog  Day.  An  old  rhyme  said,  "If 
Candlemas  Day  be  fair  and  bright,  Winter  will  have  another  flight;  If 
Candlemas  Day  be  shower  and  rain,  Winter  is  gone  and  will  not 
come  again."4 

l.deVoragine,  151.  2.  Hazlitt,  85-86.  Lys,  127.  4.  Hazlitt,  87. 


The  most  consistently  observed  taboo  in  civilized  society  is  the  taboo 
against  eating  human  flesh,  though  there  is  no  comparable  taboo  against 
killing,  which  is  done  regularly,  sometimes  in  enormous  volume,  as  in 
the  case  of  war. 

Upon  finding  human  sacrifice — but  not  cannibalism — among  the 
Polynesians,  Captain  Cook  called  it  a  shocking  waste  of  the  human 
race,  and  wrote:  "It  were  much  to  be  wished,  that  this  deluded  people 
may  learn  to  entertain  the  same  horror  of  murdering  their  fellow- 
creatures  ...  as  they  now  have  of  feeding,  corporeally,  on  human  flesh 
themselves." 1  Of  course  the  good  captain  failed  to  notice  that  the 
same  delusion  dwelt  among  his  own  countrymen.  Eventually  the 



Methodius  9th-cen- 
tury  Greek  missionary 
to  the  Slavs,  canon- 
ized soon  after  his  death 
by  the  Greek  church, 
and  a  thousand  years 
later  by  the  Roman. 

Christians  taught  the  Polynesians  not  to  murder  their  fellow-creatures 
any  more,  by  the  simple  expedient  of  murdering  large  numbers  of 
Polynesians  until  they  gave  up. 

Western  morality  has  always  allowed  and  encouraged  mass  killing, 
provided  the  dead  never  became  meals  for  the  living.  It  has  been 
noted  that  the  decline  of  human  sacrifice  and  cannibalism  in  antiquity 
was  not  accompanied  by  a  decline  in  human  slaughter  generally.  On 
the  contrary,  the  scale  of  warfare  steadily  increased  with  the  growth  of 
civilization,  up  to  the  point  where  the  highly  technical  civilizations  of 
today  stand  ready  to  exterminate  an  entire  world.  Moreover  the  highest 
casualty  lists  have  been  accumulated  in  precisely  the  same  nations 
that  call  themselves  Christian.2 

Churches,  declaring  themselves  officially  opposed  to  killing,  have 
always  managed  to  justify  it  nonetheless,  when  it  seemed  expedient. 
Even  more  curious  a  contradiction  may  be  found  on  the  matter  of 
cannibalism,  which  Christian  authorities  regarded  with  the  utmost 
horror.  Witches  were  accused  of  this  crime  more  than  any  other,  since  it 
seemed  dreadful  enough  to  deserve  the  merciless  punishment  its 
alleged  practitioners  received.  Yet  at  the  very  core  of  Christian  faith  lay 
the  sacrament  upon  which  salvation,  redemption,  eternal  life  and  all 
the  rest  depended  completely:  a  sacrament  of  cannibalism,  not  "sym- 
bolic" but  according  to  its  theological  rationale,  absolutely  real. 

God-eating  was  a  universal  custom  descended  from  the  earliest 
beginnings  of  civilization,  when  it  was  usually  a  genuine  cannibal 
feast.  As  the  incarnate  god,  "the  victim  is  not  only  slain,  but  the 
worshippers  partake  of  the  body  and  blood  of  the  victim,  so  that  his 
life  passes  into  their  life,  and  knits  them  to  the  deity  in  living 

The  object  was  to  become  flesh  of  the  god's  flesh  by  eating  him,  so 
as  to  share  in  the  resurrection  of  the  divine  flesh.  There  is  no  use 
pretending  that  this  "Christian"  ceremony  did  not  originate  in  ceremo- 
nies of  real  cannibalism  as  primitive  sympathetic  magic.  All  the 
mystery-religions  of  the  early  Christian  era  centered  on  a  pseudo- 
cannibalistic  sacrament  believed  to  identify  the  worshipper  with  the 
worshipped.  "That  there  was  a  firm  belief  in  the  earlier  stages  of 
religion,  of  such  participation  in  the  god  by  eating  him  in  a  sacramen- 
tal meal  cannot  be  questioned.  In  the  Thracian-Dionysiac  Mysteries, 
e.g.,  the  celebrants  by  such  a  meal  obtain  a  share  in  the  divine  life  of 
the  god,  and  so  are  called  by  his  name."4 

The  same  idea  underlay  Christian  sacraments  as  well  as  those  of 
the  other  Mysteries.  Cyril  of  Jerusalem  talked  of  "partaking  of  the 
body  and  blood  of  Christ,  that  you  may  become  con-corporate  and  con- 
sanguineous with  Him;  for  thus  we  become  Christophori,  his  body 
and  his  blood  entering  into  our  members."  Methodius  taught  that 
"every  believer  must  through  participation  in  Christ  be  born  a 
Christ. ...  He  was  made  man  that  we  might  be  made  God."  The  same 
sacrament  in  other  religions,  however,  was  a  diabolic  rite:  "Evil  spirits 


gain  power  by  means  of  the  food  consecrated  to  them,  and  are 
introduced  by  your  own  hands  into  your  own  bodies;  there  they  hide 
themselves  for  a  long  time  and  unite  with  the  soul." 5 

True  cannibalism  was  still  overtly  associated  with  Tibetan  sacrifices 
up  to  the  7th  century  a.d.,  after  which  the  sacred  mystery  play 
provided  symbolic  substitutes.  A  victim  made  of  dough  was  torn  apart, 
his  "entrails"  distributed  and  devoured.  Sometimes,  real  flesh  from 
the  corpse  of  an  executed  criminal  was  inserted  into  the  dough  image. 
At  the  atonement  festival,  a  bull-masked  priest  called  the  Holy  King 
of  Religion  stabbed  the  sacrificial  figure,  cut  off  its  limbs,  opened  the 
breast  and  extracted  artificial  lungs,  heart,  and  intestines.  The  re- 
mains were  scattered  by  animal-masked  dancers,  as  the  remains  of  Osiris 
and  other  savior-gods  of  antiquity  were  scattered  over  the  earth.6 

Such  dancers  recall  the  Sabeans  (Shebans)  of  Ezekiel  24,  called 
"women  that  shed  blood,"  who  dressed  in  golden  crowns  and  brace- 
lets to  make  mourning  for  the  dead,  and  "ate  the  bread  of  men."  Similar 
funerary  dancers  were  the  Egyptian  muu  or  "mothers,"  who  wore 
vulture  feathers  to  impersonate  the  Goddess  Mut,  or  Nekhbet,  eater  of 
the  dead. 

Recently  in  parts  of  France  it  was  a  custom  to  make  a  dough  man 
of  the  last  sheaves  of  the  harvest  to  represent  the  human  sacrifice.  He 
was  broken  in  pieces  by  the  make  (an  old  title  of  a  clan  mother)  and 
given  to  the  people  to  eat.  Similarly  in  Mexico,  after  human  sacrifices 
were  discontinued,  a  flint-tipped  dart  was  hurled  into  the  breast  of  a 
dough  man.  This  was  known  as  "killing  the  god  so  that  his  body 
might  be  eaten."  In  a  ceremony  called  torqualo,  "God  is  eaten,"  the 
image  was  divided  into  small  pieces  and  distributed  among  the 

This  was  an  obvious  survival  of  Aztec  religious  ideas.  The  victim 
impersonating  the  god  received  worship,  healed  the  sick,  and  blessed 
the  people,  always  attended  by  his  keeper-apostles.  Then  he  was  killed 
and  butchered  in  special  houses  called  calpulli,  which  distributed  him. 
Nursing  mothers  would  smear  their  nipples  with  a  victim's  holy  blood  so 
even  their  infants  could  partake  of  it. 

The  Greek  omophagia  was  originally  a  cannibal  orgy  that  even 
dispensed  with  cooking.  Victims  were  torn  apart  with  the  teeth  and 
bare  hands  of  the  participants  and  eaten  raw.  Greek  classical  writers 
preferred  to  forget  the  omophagia.  They  looked  down  on  barbarian 
tribes  for  sexual  promiscuity  and  cannibalizing  their  family  members.10 

What  was  the  relationship  between  eating  sacred  kings  and  saviors 
and  eating  family  members?  The  answers  have  been  given  by  canni- 
bals themselves:  women  eat  the  flesh  of  dead  men  and  bring  them  back 
to  life  as  new  children.  Primitive  people  reasoned  that,  in  order  to  be 
born  again,  one  must  get  inside  a  woman's  body.  The  simplest  way  to 
accomplish  this  was  to  be  eaten  by  her.  This  was  the  original  root  of 
the  world-wide  doctrine  of  reincarnation:  literally,  re-clothing  in  flesh. 

Before  discovery  of  the  mechanism  of  conception,  a  dying  man 


The  original  "barbe- 
cue" was  a  cannibal 
feast.  The  word 
came  from  barbricot, 
the  grill  of  green 
boughs  on  which  Carib 
Indians  used  to  roast 
human  flesh.8 
Ancient  writings  often 
speak  of  the  canni- 
balistic habits  of  elder 
races.  The  Norse  el- 
der gods  or  giants  were 
jotunn,  from  an 
Indo-European  root 
word  meaning  "eat- 
ers." They  were 
believed  to  eat  men, 
like  jack's  giant  who 
drank  the  blood  of 
Englishmen  and  made 
bread  of  their  bones.9 


Cannibalism  looked  forward  to  rebirth  from  one  of  the  tribal  mothers  who  would 

convert  his  flesh  and  blood  into  a  new  baby.  Thus  the  Massagetae 
_____ __________      considered  being  eaten  by  clan  mothers  the  only  honorable  death.  A 

man  could  become  flesh  of  their  flesh,  and  live  again.11  Resurrection 
was  brought  about  by  the  mysterious  magic  of  women  who,  like  the 
earth,  gave  life  over  and  over. 

Australian  native  women  have  been  known  to  eat  their  infants  who 
die,  then  to  paint  the  bones  red  and  hang  them  about  their  bodies: 
crude  magic  aimed  at  returning  the  child  to  the  matrix  and  re-coating  its 
bones  with  life-giving  maternal  blood.  Women  of  the  Bibinga  tribe 
stated  quite  plainly  that  they  ate  the  dead  to  give  them  reincarnation.12 
In  New  Guinea,  a  newborn  child  would  receive  the  soul-name  of  a 
man  who  was  killed  and  his  flesh  given  to  the  mother  to  eat.13 

In  1852,  Dr.  Hubsch  wrote  of  the  African  tribe  called  Niam- 
Niam:  "As  soon  as  one  of  the  tribe  dies,  his  relations,  instead  of 
burying  him,  cut  him  up  and  regale  themselves  upon  his  remains; 
consequently  there  are  no  cemeteries  in  this  land."  H  Baganda 
tribesmen  said  their  women  sometimes  became  so  hungry  that  they  bit 
off  their  babies'  ears — probably  a  euphemistic  way  of  saying  they  ate 
the  whole  baby,  confident  of  their  ability  to  give  it  another  birth.15 

The  notion  that  pregnancy  is  the  result  of  eating  is  still  widespread 
among  savages.  Words  for  consuming  and  conceiving  are  often  the 
same.  There  was  an  ancient  Babylonian  proverb:  "Who  grows  pregnant 
without  having  conceived?  Who  grows  fat  without  having  eaten?" 16 
According  to  Horace,  the  real  primal  scene  was  not  the  sexual  drama 
postulated  by  Freud,  but  "A  child,  by  a  fell  witch  devoured,  dragged 
from  her  entrails,  and  to  life  restored."  17  The  Bible's  term  for  birth  is 
"coming  forth  from  the  bowels"  (Genesis  1 5:4),  for,  like  children,  the 
ancients  were  not  altogether  certain  of  the  distinction  between  repro- 
ductive and  digestive  systems.  The  Sanhedrin  said  a  woman  may 
conceive  by  drinking  or  bathing  in  water  used  to  wash  a  corpse,  an 
obvious  survival  of  the  primitive  idea  of  a  dead  soul  entering  a  new 

The  Chinese  in  the  Shang  period  thought  birth  and  rebirth  were 
the  same  thing.  The  pictogram  kuei,  meaning  both  "soul"  and 
"rebirth,"  was  a  fetus.19 

The  Yanomamo  say  they  used  to  practice  cannibalism,  because 
their  mother  goddess  Mamokoriyoma  allowed  them  to  eat  dead 
parents  and  children.  But  they  ceased  to  worship  her,  and  declared 
cannibalism  a  sin.  Cremation  of  the  dead  was  instituted.  Yet  they  still 
eat  the  ashes  of  the  dead,  mixed  with  food.  Sharing  the  ashes  of 
important  ancestors  is  a  sacred  ceremony  thought  to  strengthen 
kinship  bonds.20 

In  southeastern  Africa,  when  a  woman  marries  into  another 
kinship  group,  she  must  eat  kernels  of  grain  raised  on  the  skull  of  a 
dead  ancestor.  When  she  gives  birth,  elders  watch  for  signs  of  similarity 
between  the  deceased  and  the  new  baby.  Kernels  of  grain  were 
similarly  grown  on  the  mummy  of  Osiris  and  the  body  of  Adonis,  who 


was  born  in  Bethlehem,  the  "House  of  Bread."  The  grain  was  eaten 
in  solemn  communion  by  the  god's  worshippers,  who  took  it  to  mean 
they  were  like  him,  and  would  be  reborn  like  him.  Hawaiians  had  a 
god  like  Osiris,  who  was  dismembered  and  buried  in  many  earth- 
wombs.  Foodstuffs  grew  from  the  parts  of  his  body.21 

Nearly  all  religions  incorporate  hidden  hints  of  cannibalism.  Apart 
from  the  sacrament  of  god-devouring  that  Christianity  shared  with 
paganism,  the  primitive  church  was  accused  of  real  cannibalism.  Ro- 
mans claimed  the  Christians  sacrificed  and  ate  children,  and  dipped 
their  host  in  children's  blood.  Orthodox  authorities  didn't  deny  these 
charges,  but  insisted  only  the  Gnostic  sects  were  to  blame.  Justin 
Martyr  said  the  Marcionites  practiced  incest  and  cannibalism.  Eusebius 
of  Caesarea  said  the  Carpocratians  did  it.  Epiphanius  said  the 
Montanists  and  Ophites  did  it.  Clement  of  Alexandria,  Irenaeus,  and 
the  5th-century  Presbyter  Salvian  all  blamed  heretic  Christians  for 
holding  anthropophagus  rites  that  brought  disgrace  on  the  church.22 

Despite  powerful  taboos,  cannibalism  was  not  unknown  in  medi- 
eval Europe.  In  periods  of  famine  or  plague,  when  many  starved  to 
death  in  the  streets  of  European  towns,  bodies  sometimes  simply 
disappeared.  In  1435  the  Sawney  Beane  family  of  Galloway  was 
accused  of  having  lived  on  a  diet  of  human  flesh  for  generations;  but 
they  were  tortured  to  death  by  the  court  at  Edinburgh,  which  may 
render  their  confessions  suspect.23  In  1661,  four  Scottish  "witches" 
were  tortured  into  confessing  that  they  ate  an  unbaptized  child  dug  up 
from  the  Forfar  churchyard.24  This  seems  improbable,  since  the 
unbaptized  were  not  buried  in  churchyards.  Next  to  witches,  those 
most  frequently  accused  of  cannibalism  were  the  Jews.  See  Jews, 
Persecution  of. 

1.  Campbell,  M.I.,  446-47.  2.  M.  Harris,  121.  3.  Elworthy,  1 12.  4.  Angus,  129. 

5.  Angus,  107, 132.  6.  Waddell,  518, 527,  531.  7.  Elworthy,  1 1 1 . 

8.  Frazer,  G.B.,  680;  M.  Harris,  102-3,  108,  1 18.  9.  Branston,  101. 

10.  Thomson,  64, 145.  11.  Herodotus,  83-84.  12.  Summers,  V,  263-64. 

B.Tannahill,  15-16.  14.  Baring-Gould,  C.M.M.A.,  158.  15.  Briffault,  2,460. 

16.  Assyr.  &  Bab.  Lit.,  448.  17.  Summers,  V,  227.  18.  Gaster,  521. 

19.  Brandon,  98.  20.  Chagnon,  46,  5 1 .  21.  Campbell,  P.M.,  127, 200. 

22.  J.B.  Russell,  89-92.  23.  Summers,  V,  61.  24.  Tannahill,  101. 

Canopic  Jar 

Canopic  Jar 

Egyptian  tomb  vessel  for  holding  the  entrails  of  a  mummy.  From  the 
city  of  Canopis,  "Eye  of  the  Dog,"  Greek  name  for  the  star  of  Anubis, 
which  Egyptians  called  Sothis  (Sirius),  the  "eye"  of  the  constellation 
Canis  Major,  the  Great  Dog.  This  star  was  supposed  to  hold  the  inward 
parts  of  the  god  Osiris  in  his  "mummy"  phase  as  Lord  of  Death.  See 


The  Goddess  Car,  or  Kore,  or  Ker,  or  Q're,  or  Cerdo;  one  of  the 
most  widespread  name-cycles  of  the  Indo-European  Goddess.  Her 

var.  Car-Dia, 
Cardea,  Carmenta, 
Carna,  etc. 


Carpet,  Magic  sacred  city  in  Sardinia  was  Caralis,  the  modern  Cagliari.1  Her  sacred 

Cassandra  city  in  the  Chersonese  was  Cardia,  "the  Goddess  Car."  Gaulish  tribes 

^^^^^^^^^^^      called  the  Carnutes  traced  their  descent  from  her;  Chartres  was 

named  after  her.  As  Carna  and  Carmenta  she  became  the  Etruscan- 
Roman  mother  of  "carnivals,"  of  "charms,"  and  of  alphabetical 

In  the  time  of  Alexander  the  Great,  the  land  of  Persia  was  known 
as  Carmania,  "Car  the  Moon."2  Irish  legend  said  from  that  land  three 
powerful  magicians  came  to  Erin  along  with  their  mother  Carman, 
evidently  an  idol  of  the  Goddess.  The  magicians  were  later  driven 
out,  but  they  left  their  "mother"  behind  them.3 

1.  Massa,  43.  2.  B.  Butler,  137.  3.  Spence,  150. 

Carpet,  Magic 

Eastern  tales  of  the  magic  flying  carpet  evolved  from  shamanic 
initiations  in  which  the  adept  learned  to  "fly"  via  the  spirit-journey. 
Novices  undergoing  initiation  in  central  Asia  were  carried  on  a  felt 
carpet  by  four  priests  called  "sons"  of  the  chief  shaman,  comparable  to 
the  four  Sons  of  Horus  carrying  the  dead  man  in  ancient  Egypt.1 
Flying  to  heaven  in  trance  on  the  carpet  was  an  integral  part  of  death- 
and-resurrection  ceremonies  necessary  to  the  would-be  shaman's 

l.Eliade,S.,  119. 


Carved  temple  pillar  representing  a  woman;  in  Greek  tradition,  a 
priestess  of  Artemis  Caryatis,  modeled  on  the  moon-priestesses  of 
Caryae.  Matriarchal  temples'  seven  high  priestesses  were  known  as 
the  Seven  Pillars  of  Wisdom.  The  Bible  says  the  Goddess  of  Wisdom 
has  "builded  her  house,  she  hath  hewn  out  her  seven  pillars" 
(Proverbs  9:1).  As  early  as  the  3rd  millenium  B.C.,  Moabite  temples  of 
the  Goddess  were  provided  with  seven  menhirs.1  Each  pillar  appar- 
ently became  a  soul-image  of  one  of  the  Seven  Mothers,  the  original 
"pillars  of  the  church."  See  Pleiades. 



Trojan  prophetess  called  Daughter  of  Hecate,  that  is,  of  Queen 
Hecuba,  who  embodied  the  Trojan  Goddess.  After  the  fall  of  Troy, 
Cassandra  was  taken  prisoner  by  King  Agamemnon,  on  whom  she 
laid  her  curse.  Classical  myth  said  she  "prophesied"  his  doom,  which 
meant  she  not  only  foresaw  it  but  actually  invoked  it  on  him  with  her 
magic  words.  Soon  after,  Agamemnon  was  slain  by  his  wife  Clytemnes- 


tra  and  her  new  lover.  The  ritualistic  manner  of  his  death  showed  that 
it  was  not  a  simple  murder  but  a  replacement  of  sacred  kings  according 
to  the  ancient  law  of  queen's  right.  See  Furies;  Kingship. 



Inventors  of  the  caste  system  were  Indo-European  patrilineal  tribes 
whose  early  migrations  destroyed  many  centers  of  Neolithic  matriarchy; 
yet  they  had  to  attribute  their  social  hierarchy  to  the  authority  of 
Mother  Earth,  the  Goddess  of  final  authority.  Their  eastern  offshoots, 
calling  themselves  Aryans,  conquered  northwestern  India  and 
brought  a  Dark  Age  to  a  formerly  flourishing  civilization,  about  the 
middle  of  the  2nd  millenium  B.C.  Like  the  priests  of  western  Europe 
in  a  later  Dark  Age,  the  Aryan  priests  devised  the  caste  system  to 
relegate  native  peoples  to  a  lower  status,  and  to  preserve  this  order 
with  a  claim  of  divine  ordinance. 

This  doctrine  taught  that  all  those  born  into  low  rank  were  living 
out  a  necessary  punishment  for  sin  in  a  previous  existence,  even 
though  they  may  not  remember  it.  Their  duty  was  to  accept  their  lot 
without  complaint,  work  hard,  and  obey  their  superiors,  so  as  to  win  a 
promotion  in  the  next  life.  It  was  perhaps  the  most  effective  method  of 
preserving  a  hierarchy  that  human  ingenuity  has  ever  produced.1 

Under  the  rule  of  the  warlike  Aryan  Aesir,  who  conquered 
Scandinavia's  earlier  matriarchal  tribes,  "the  castes  and  professions 
are  regarded  as  reflections  in  the  human  sphere  of  the  laws  of  the 
natural  order."2  The  father  of  Teutonic  castes  was  Rig-Heimdall, 
"King  of  the  Sea-Home."  Their  mother  was  the  Triple  Goddess  Earth 
in  all  three  of  her  forms. 

Rig-Heimdall  lay  with  Edda  the  Great-Grandmother,  oldest  of 
Goddesses,  and  begot  a  son  named  Thrall,  "Slave."  Then  he  lay  with 
Amma,  the  Grandmother,  and  begot  a  son  named  Karl,  "Freeman." 
They  he  lay  with  Modir,  the  Mother,  and  begot  a  son  named  Jarl, 
"Earl,  prince."  These  three  were  ancestors  of  the  castes. 

The  same  Rig-Heimdall  was  named  Ram,  the  phallus.  He  was 
sacrificed  as  a  Horned  God.  Like  Scyld,  Arthur,  and  other  pagan 
heroes  he  was  born  of  the  ninth  wave  of  the  sea.  His  Magic  Song  said 
he  was  born  of  nine  maidens,  daughters  of  the  Elder  Race,  another 
multiplication  of  the  same  Triple  Goddess,  everywhere  the  Mother- 
Bride.  The  Nine  made  him  strong  with  the  sea's  cold  strength  and 
with  sacrificial  blood.3 

Rig-Heimdall  resembled  the  Vedic  fire  god  Agni,  Son  of  the 
Waters,  who  returned  to  the  waters  at  his  death.  Some  say  Agni  is 
periodically  reincarnated  in  the  Dalai  Lama,  another  "Son  of  the  Sea." 
The  Rig  Veda  said  of  Agni,  "He  with  clear  flames  unfed  with  wood, 
shines  in  the  waters."4  This  was  not  marine  luminescence,  but  an 
allegory  of  the  ancient  idea  that  blood  was  sea  water  infused  with  fire, 
the  element  of  living  heat  (see  Elements).  As  the  god  in  dying  fertilized 
Mother  Earth  with  blood,  so  fire  dying  in  water  turned  the  cold  brine 


Castration  into  warm  red  blood  of  life.  This  was  the  primitive  theory  behind  the 

"mating  of  fire  and  water"  in  both  Norse  and  Vedic  myth. 

hp^ B^BH  Apart  from  the  castes  in  both  eastern  and  western  Aryan  societies 

were  the  outcastes:  India's  Untouchables,  or  pariahs.  Their  duties 
were  "carrying  water  and  chopping  firewood."  Their  virtue  consisted  of 
accepting  these  chores  and  attending  to  them  faithfully.5  It  is  no  coincid- 
ence, but  a  tradition  of  genuine  Indo-European  origin,  that  the  Bible 
speaks  of  outcasts  who  could  not  be  touched,  but  were  allowed  to  live 
as  "hewers  of  wood  and  drawers  of  water"  (Joshua  9:21).  Yahweh's 
scribes  pretended  the  idea  came  from  their  ancestors,  but  obviously 
it  was  borrowed  from  Far-Eastern  concepts  of  the  caste  system. 

1.  de  Camp,  A.E.,  294.  2.  Campbell,  Or.M,  416-17.  3.  Turville-Petre,  147, 150-53. 
4.  Branston,  140.  5.  Campbell,  Or.M.,  459. 


All  mythologies  suggest  that,  before  men  understood  their  reproduc- 
tive role,  they  tried  to  "make  women"  of  themselves  in  the  hope  of 
achieving  womanlike  fertility.  Methods  included  couvade  or  imitation 
childbirth;  mock  death  and  rebirth  through  artificial  male  mothers; 
ceremonial  use  of  red  substances  to  imitate  menstrual  blood;  and 
transvestism.  Another  method  was  ceremonial  castration.  Its  primitive 
object  was  to  turn  a  male  body  into  a  female  one,  replacing  dangling 
genitals  with  a  bleeding  hole.  (See  Birth-giving,  Male.) 

Many  gods  became  pseudo-mothers  by  this  means.  Egypt's  solar 
god  Ra  castrated  himself  to  bring  forth  a  race  called  the  Ammiu  out 
of  his  blood.1  The  phallus  of  the  Hindu  "Great  God,"  Mahadeva,  was 
removed  and  chopped  to  pieces  by  priestesses  of  the  Goddess.  The 
pieces  entered  the  earth  and  gave  birth  to  a  new  race  of  men,  the 
Lingajas  (Men  of  the  lingam,  or  phallus).2  In  a  Chukchi  variant,  the 
Great  God  Raven  acquired  feminine  secrets  of  magic  for  men  by 
pounding  his  own  penis  to  a  pudding  and  feeding  it  to  the  Goddess 
Miti  (Mother).3  In  Mexico,  the  savior  Quetzalcoatl  made  new  humans 
to  repopulate  the  earth  after  the  Flood  by  cutting  his  penis  and  giving 
blood  to  the  Lady  of  the  Serpent  Skirt — the  Goddess  with  many  shorn 
phalli  dangling  about  her  waist,  a  figure  also  known  in  the  Middle 
East,  e.g.  as  Anath.4 

Several  forms  of  the  Heavenly  Father  became  creators  by  a  rite  of 
castration.  The  god  Bel  cut  his  "head"  (of  the  penis)  and  mixed  his 
blood  with  clay  to  make  men  and  animals,  copying  the  magic  of  Mother 
Ninhursag.5  Shamin,  the  Phoenicians'  Father  Heaven,  was  castrated 
by  his  son  El  and  made  the  world's  rivers  from  his  blood,  imitating  the 
Goddess's  menstrual  magic.  Arabs  called  this  god  Shams-on,  the  sun. 
The  Bible  called  him  Samson,  whose  blindness  and  hair-cutting  were 
both  mythic  metaphors  of  castration. 

Shearing  the  sun  god's  "hair"  (rays)  meant  emasculating  him.  His 
severed  penis  represented  the  son/supplanter;  and  a  penis  was  often 
called  "the  little  blind  one,"  or  "the  one-eyed  god."  Greeks'  personifica- 


tion  of  the  phallus,  Priapus,  was  the  son  of  Aphrodite  and  her 
castrated  consort  Adonis.  Their  Roman  counterparts  Vesta  and  Vulcan 
produced  a  phallic  god  Caeculus,  "the  little  blind  one."6 

Uranus,  "Father  Heaven,"  was  castrated  by  his  son  Cronus. 
Uranus's  severed  genitals  entered  the  sea-womb  and  fertilized  it  to 
produce  a  new  incarnation  of  the  Virgin  Aphrodite  Urania,  "Celestial 
Aphrodite."  It  was  she  who  ruled  the  earlier  cults  of  castrated  gods, 
such  as  Anchises  and  Adonis.  She  was  the  same  as  the  Canaanites'  Lady 
of  the  Serpent  Skirt:  her  priests  castrated  gods  in  her  honor. 

So  did  the  priests  of  Aphrodite's  Nordic  counterpart,  Freya-Skadi. 
The  Nordic  Father  Heaven  was  Odin,  whose  twelfth  holy  name  was 
Jalkr,  "Eunuch."7  As  a  castrated  god,  Odin  was  the  son-phallus  of  an 
older  Eunuch  personifying  both  father  and  son;  for  Odin  was  also  the 
One-Eyed  God,  or  Volsi,  a  "stallion  penis."8  (See  Horse.)  Like  the 
stallion  of  the  Vedic  horse  sacrifice,  he  was  castrated.  A  late  myth  tried 
to  account  for  Odin's  crude  phallic  title  by  saying  he  could  not  drink 
of  the  cosmic  feminine  fountain  of  wisdom  until  he  had  given  up  one  of 
his  eyes.9  Here  one  might  recall  the  alternating  seasonal  castrations 
of  Set  and  Horus  in  Egypt,  their  severed  phalli  mythologically  described 


as  "eyes.'10 

Biblical  writers  called  the  penis  a  "sinew  that  shrank,"  lying  "upon 
the  hollow  of  the  thigh."  This  was  the  sinew  that  Jacob  lost  in  his 
duel  with  "a  man  who  was  a  god."  Jacob,  "the  Supplanter,"  was 
another  name  for  Seth,  or  Set,  who  was  likewise  symbolized  by  the 
Ladder  of  Souls  and  likewise  engaged  in  a  contest  with  his  rival,  ending 
in  his  castration.11  When  Set  was  castrated,  his  blood  was  spread  over 
the  fields  in  the  annual  ceremony  of  sowing  so  as  to  fertilize  the  crops.12 

The  Book  of  Genesis  confuses  the  two  aspects  of  the  god-king, 
who  as  Jacob  won  his  battle  with  the  incumbent  king  and  supplanted 
him,  then  as  Israel  lost  his  battle  with  the  next  supplanter,  and  was 
castrated.  Is-Ra-El  may  have  been  a  corruption  of  Isis-Ra-El,  the  god 
enthroned  as  the  consort  of  his  goddess,  awaiting  the  next  challenger.13 
The  syllable  El  meant  his  deification. 

The  garbled  story  of  Jacob  and  the  god-man  was  inserted  chiefly  to 
support  the  Jews'  taboo  on  eating  a  penis  (Genesis  32:32),  formerly  a 
habit  of  sacred  kings  upon  their  accession  to  the  throne.  The  genitals  of 
the  defeated  antagonist  were  eaten  by  the  victor,  to  pass  the  phallic 
spirit  from  one  "god"  to  the  next.  A  king's  virtu,  "manliness,"  or  heill, 
"holiness,"  dwelt  in  his  genitals  because  that  was  his  point  of  contact 
with  the  Goddess-queen.  Innumerable  myths  of  father-castrating,  moth- 
er-marrying god-kings  arose,  not  so  much  from  inner  Oedipal 
jealousies  as  from  actual  customs  of  royal  succession  in  antiquity.  See 
Kingship;  Oedipus. 

The  Greek  King  Aegeus  died  at  the  very  moment  when  his  "son," 
Theseus,  arrived  from  Crete  to  claim  his  throne.  The  key  to  this 
myth  is  that  Aegeus  was  "rendered  sterile"  by  a  curse,  the  same  ritual 
curse  laid  on  all  kings  of  outworn  usefulness,  followed  very  shortly 
by  castration  and  death.14 


Castration  In  the  sacred  dramas  of  Canaan,  the  reed  scepter  of  the  dying  god 

Mot  was  broken,  to  signify  his  castration.15  His  name,  meaning  "steril- 
^^mmmm^^^^^      ity"  or  "death,"  was  a  title  of  the  fertility  god  Aleyin  (Baal)  as  he 

entered  his  declining  phase,  when  his  rival  assumed  the  sacred  throne, 
and  he  became  Lord  of  Death.16  The  custom  of  eating  the  defeated 
king's  genitals  appears  in  a  number  of  Middle-Eastern  myths,  e.g.,  that 
of  the  Hittite  god  Kumarbi,  one  of  a  line  of  father-castrating  kings  of 
heaven.17  Kumarbi's  assumption  of  the  fertility-spirit  was  expressed 
by  the  story  that  he  "became  pregnant." 

Mythic  fathers  and  sons  demonstrated  remarkable  hostility  toward 
each  other's  genitals.  Scholars  tend  to  regard  this  as  an  expression  of 
Oedipal  aggressions,  originating  in  the  jealousy  of  elder  males  toward 
younger,  more  virile  ones.  Though  men  eventually  gave  up  the 
hopeless  idea  of  making  one  of  their  number  pregnant  by  redesigning 
his  body  in  a  feminine  style,  customs  of  castration  and  crypto- 
castration  persisted  because  they  offered  an  outlet  for  this  male  jealousy. 

Among  savages,  men's  puberty  ceremonies  generally  provided  an 
excuse  for  elder  men's  attacks  on  the  bodies  of  youths.  Modified 
castrations  may  be  inflicted  in  the  form  of  circumcision,  subincision,  and 
other  genital  wounds;  also  a  variety  of  torments  such  as  scarifying 
flesh,  knocking  out  teeth,  beatings,  torture,  and  homosexual  rape.18 
"The  dramatized  anger  of  both  the  father  and  the  circumciser  and  the 
myths  of  the  original  initiation  in  which  all  the  boys  were  killed, 
certainly  show  the  Oedipal  aggression  of  the  elder  generation  as  the 
basic  drive  behind  initiation." 19 

The  more  patriarchal  the  society,  the  more  brutal  its  attacks  on 
male  youth,  as  a  general  rule.  Notable  for  brutality  was  the  Moslems'  Es- 
selkh  or  scarification  ceremony,  a  complete  flaying  of  skin  from  a 
boy's  scrotum,  penis,  and  groin.  After  enduring  this,  the  victim  was 
further  tormented  by  application  of  salt  and  hot  sand,  and  buried  up 
to  the  waist  in  a  dunghill,  making  subsequent  infection  almost  inevita- 
ble. Burton  commented,  "This  ordeal  was  sometimes  fatal."20 
Legman  pointed  out  that  both  Islam  and  Judaism  "share  in  the  surgical 
intimidation  of  the  son  by  the  father,  just  at  the  threshold  of  puberty, 
either  in  the  psychological  castration  of  circumcision  at  puberty  (Mo- 
hammedanism), or  this  same  operation  effected  at  the  earlier  age  of 
eight  days  (Judaism),  or  in  a  reminiscence  of  this  operation."21 

Subincision  provides  an  example  of  transition  from  a  female- 
imitative  rationale  to  a  male  sado-masochistic  ritual.  As  practiced  by 
the  Arunta,  it  began  with  a  long  sliver  of  bone  inserted  into  the  urethra. 
The  youth's  penis  was  then  sawed  open  with  a  sharp  flint,  down  to 
the  level  of  the  bone.  Blood  flowing  from  the  wound  was  directed  onto 
a  sacred  fire,  like  the  menstrual  blood  of  girls  at  menarche.  The 
operation  was  termed  "man's  menstruation."22  The  wound  was  called  a 

The  obvious  purpose  of  this  unpleasantness  was  to  transform  a 
male  into  a  pseudo-female.  The  mutilated  youth  was  even  obliged  to 
urinate  by  squatting,  like  a  woman.  Sometimes,  men  renewed  the 


damage  several  times  over,  repeating  the  litany:  "We  are  not  separat-  Castration 

ed  from  the  mother;  for  we  two  are  one."'24  Natives  said  the  custom 

was  begun  by  an  ancestral  spirit,  Mulkari  or  Mu-Kari,  perhaps  a  _^^__^^^ 

corrupt  form  of  Mother  Kali  (Ma-Kali),  who  was  known  as  Kari  in  ^""^^^^™ 


Far  from  supporting  the  Freudian  doctrine  of  penis  envy,  primitive 
customs  seem  to  suggest  vulva  envy  as  the  original  motive  behind 
ritual  castrations.  It  might  be  found  even  in  civilized  society.  Bettelheim 
remarked  on  the  desire  of  some  young  men  to  be  circumcised,  or 
otherwise  subjected  to  bloodletting,  when  their  girl  friends  were  starting 
to  menstruate.26  Circumcision  was  surely  a  modified  form  of  earlier, 
female-imitative  castrations. 

The  institution  of  circumcision  was  attributed  to  the  same  gods, 
such  as  El,  who  castrated  their  fathers.  Its  object  was  to  feminize.  In 
India,  boys  were  dressed  as  girls,  nose  ring  and  all,  on  the  eve  of  the  cir- 
cumcision ceremony.  In  ancient  Egypt  also,  boys  on  their  way  to 
circumcision  wore  girls'  clothing,  and  were  followed  by  a  woman 
sprinkling  salt,  a  common  Egyptian  symbol  of  life-giving  menstrual 

Circumcision  took  place  at  the  age  of  thirteen,  the  number  of 
months  in  a  year  according  to  ancient  menstrual  calendars,  and  the 
traditional  age  of  menarche.  After  copying  circumcision  from  the 
Egyptians,  Jews  transferred  it  to  the  period  of  infancy,  leaving  the 
pubertal  ceremony,  now  called  bar  mitzvah,  awkwardly  placed  at  a  point 
in  a  boy's  life  when  nothing  really  happens,  in  contrast  to  the  sudden 
onset  of  menarche  in  a  girl. 

Infant  circumcision  was  attributed  to  Moses,  who  insisted  on  it 
against  the  will  of  his  Midianite  wife  Zipporah,  who  apparently 
objected  to  mutilation  of  her  infant.  After  performing  the  operation,  she 
flung  the  foreskin  at  Moses's  feet,  calling  him  a  bloody  husband 
(Exodus  4:25). 

Other  biblical  passages  show  that  foreskins  were  considered  appro- 
priate offerings  to  Yahweh.  David  bought  his  wife  Michal  from 
Yahweh's  representative  the  king,  with  200  Philistine  foreskins  (1 
Samuel  18:27).  Other  Heavenly  Fathers  made  similar  demands  for 
genital  gifts.  Male  animals  sacrificed  to  Rome's  Heavenly  Father  Jupiter 
were  gelded.28  The  bull  representing  the  castrated  savior  Attis  was 
also  castrated.29  His  blood  conferred  spiritual  rebirth  on  those  who 
bathed  in  it,  like  the  blood  of  the  Christian  "Lamb,"  as  if  it  were  the 
secret  blood  of  the  womb,  the  real  source  of  life  according  to  the  oldest 

Castration  as  a  means  of  acquiring  feminine  powers  was  still  evi- 
dent among  priesthoods  of  the  Great  Mother,  along  with  other 
female-imitative  devices  such  as  transvestism.  Self-emasculated  priests  in 
female  clothing  served  the  Indian  Goddess  under  her  name  of 
Hudigamma.31  Similar  eunuch  priests  tended  Middle-Eastern  temples 
like  those  of  the  Dea  Syria  at  Hierapolis,  Artemis-Diana  in  Anatolia, 
and  the  Magna  Mater  in  Phrygia  and  Rome.32  The  famous  seer  of 


Castration  Thebes,  Teiresias,  got  his  powers  of  second  sight  and  prophecy  by 

becoming  a  woman,  possibly  by  castration,  and  living  as  a  temple  harlot 
^^^^^^^^^^^m      for  seven  years. 

Perhaps  the  best-known  self-emasculators  in  the  ancient  world 
were  priests  of  Attis  and  Cybele,  the  Great  Mother.  As  Attis  was 
castrated  and  poured  out  his  lifeblood  to  fructify  her,  so  his  priests  in 
imitation  of  his  sacrifice  cut  off  their  genitals  and  gave  them  to  the 
Goddess's  image.53  Sometimes,  the  men's  severed  members  were 
thrown  into  houses,  as  a  special  blessing.  In  return,  householders  gave 
the  new  eunuchs  feminine  garments  to  wear.  Sometimes,  the  severed 
genitalia  were  carried  in  baskets  or  cistae  to  the  Mother's  innermost 
shrine,  where  they  were  anointed,  even  gilded,  and  solemnly  buried  in 
the  Bridal  Chamber.34  The  phallus  of  the  god  himself  was  carried 
into  the  sacred  cavern  in  the  form  of  a  large  pine  log,  which  was  also, 
like  the  phallic  cross  of  Middle-Eastern  saviors,  the  instrument  on 
which  he  died.35  His  priests,  having  copied  his  self-sacrifice,  were 
distinguished  by  the  androgynous  title  bestowed  on  the  earliest  forms 
of  Shiva;  they  were  "lords  who  were  half  woman." 36 

Tertullian  admitted  that  the  "divine  mysteries"  of  Christianity 
were  virtually  the  same  as  the  "devilish  mysteries"  of  pagan  saviors 
like  Attis.37  Popularity  of  Attis's  cult  in  Rome  led  to  Christian  adoption 
of  some  of  the  older  god's  ways.  One  of  the  best-kept  secrets  of  early 
Christianity  was  its  preaching  of  castration  for  the  special  inner  circle  of 
initiates,  who  won  extra  grace  with  this  demonstration  of  chastity. 
They  taught,  following  the  Wisdom  of  Solomon,  "Blessed  is  the 
eunuch,  which  with  his  hands  hath  wrought  no  iniquity." 38  Jesus 
himself  advocated  castration:  "There  be  eunuchs,  which  have  made 
themselves  eunuchs  for  the  kingdom  of  heaven's  sake.  He  that  is  able 
to  receive  it,  let  him  receive  it"  (Matthew  19:12). 

Several  early  fathers  of  the  church  did  receive  it.  Origen  was  highly 
praised  for  having  castrated  himself.39  Justin's  Apologia  said  proudly 
that  Roman  surgeons  were  besieged  by  faithful  Christian  men  request- 
ing the  operation.  Tertullian  declared,  "The  kingdom  of  heaven  is 
thrown  open  to  eunuchs."40  Justin  advised  that  Christian  boys  be 
emasculated  before  puberty,  so  their  virtue  was  permanently  protect- 
ed.41 Three  Christians  who  tried  to  burn  Diocletian's  palace  were 
described  as  eunuchs.42 

Throughout  the  middle  ages,  cathedral  choirs  included  castrati, 
emasculated  before  puberty  to  preserve  their  virtue  and  their  soprano 
voices,  which  were  considered  more  pleasing  to  God  than  the  "impure" 
female  soprano.  Women  were  not  allowed  to  sing  in  church  choirs, 

Castration  was  advocated  also  for  monks  who  could  not  fend  off 
the  demons  of  sexual  desire.  It  was  forcibly  imposed  on  the  monk 
Abelard,  whose  love  affair  with  his  pupil  Heloise  caused  a  scandal  in  the 
church.  But  there  were  others  who  seem  to  have  accepted  surgical 
chastity  on  a  voluntary  basis.  Such  men  assumed  the  title  of  Hesychasti, 
"permanently  chaste  ones,"  or  "those  who  are  at  peace."  The  title 


was  associated  particularly  with  the  monks  of  Mount  Athos,  so  carefully 
ascetic  that  even  to  the  present  day  no  female  creature  is  allowed  on 
the  holy  mountain — hens,  cows,  sows,  nanny  goats,  and  women  all 
equally  forbidden.43 

It  is  likely  that  Mount  Athos  was  named  after  Attis,  and  may  have 
been  a  shrine  served  by  his  eunuch  priests  in  pre-Christian  times, 
situated  close  to  his  Phrygian  home.  There  was  a  Magna  Mater  figure 
connected  with  Mount  Athos  up  to  the  early  14th  century.  The 
monks  were  labeled  heretics  for  being  too  deeply  involved  with  the 
teachings  of  a  certain  so-called  nun  named  Irene — "Peace,"  the 
third  persona  of  Triple  Aphrodite  embodied  in  her  priestess-Horae. 
Irene,  as  Crone,  would  have  been  the  priestess  of  castrations  hinted 
in  the  myths  of  such  lovers  of  the  Goddess  as  Anchises  and  Adonis.44 
When  the  church  purged  Mount  Athos  of  the  influence  of  Irene,  the 
abbot  Lazarus  was  expelled.  With  a  companion  named  Barefooted 
Cyril,  Lazarus  wandered  through  Bulgaria  preaching  the  redeeming 
virtues  of  nakedness  and  self-emasculation.45 

It  seems  the  cult  of  Attis  and  Cybele  continued  to  influence 
Christianity  in  the  Balkans  for  many  centuries.  Balkan  monastic 
communities  were  organized  in  groups  of  fifty,  like  older  "colleges"  of 
the  Great  Mother's  castrated  priests.  In  Thrace,  the  Great  Mother 
had  the  name  of  Cottyto,  mother  of  the  hundred-handed  giant  Cottus, 
an  allegorical  figure  representing  her  fifty  spiritual  sons  with  two 
hands  each.46  Her  worship  persisted  underground,  long  enough  for  the 
church  to  define  it  as  witchcraft,  and  to  label  Cottyto  a  demon.  In 
1619  a  booklet  published  in  Paris  suggested  the  same  Balkan  tradition  of 
the  priest  who  dedicated  himself  to  God  in  a  manner  that  was  then 
considered  heretical:  "the  devil  cut  off  his  privy  parts."47 

Ritual  castration  was  again  revived  by  1 8th-century  Russian  secta- 
ries calling  themselves  Skoptsi,  "castrated  ones."48  They  also  called 
themselves  People  of  God,  insisting  that  removal  of  their  genitals 
brought  them  profound  spiritual  powers.  Russia's  "mad  monk" 
Rasputin  was  a  member  of  this  sect.49  Since  Rasputin  was  famed  for  his 
affairs  with  women,  few  of  his  contemporaries  would  Jiave  believed 
him  a  eunuch;  but  they  had  forgotten  what  eastern  harem-keepers  knew 
well  enough:  that  eunuchs  are  quite  capable  of  providing  women 
with  sexual  pleasure.  Rasputin's  hold  over  his  female  devotees  was  in 
any  case  a  curious  combination  of  spiritual  and  sensual  obsession. 

l.Budge,G.E.2,89,100.  2. G.R.Scott,  192-93.  3.Hays,412.  4. Campbell, M.I.,  156. 

5.  Lindsay,  O.A.,  106.  6.Dumezil,325.  7.  Branston,  50.  8.Turville-Petre,201. 

9.  Urousse,  257.  10.  Norman,  42.  1 1.  Graves,  W.G.,  355.  12.  Budge,  G.E.  2, 59. 

13.  Budge, G.E.  1,341-42.  14. Campbell, CM., 305.  15. Urousse,78. 

16.Hooke,M.E.M.,107.  1 7.  Graves,  G.M.  1,39.  18.  Hays,  524.  19.  Campbell,  P.M.,  98. 

20.  Edwardes,  97.  21.  Legman,  416.  22.  Brasch,  55.  23.  Montagu,  S.M.S.,  243. 

24.  Campbell,  P.M.,  103.  25.  Montagu,  S.M.S.,  241.  26.  F.  Huxley,  104. 

27. Gifford, 42; Edwardes, 93.  28.Dumezil,559.  29.Guignebert,71-72.  30.Angus,239. 

31.Gaster,317.  32.  Frazer,  G.B.,  403-9.  33.  Frazer,G.B.,405.  34.  Lederer,  145. 

35.  Gaster,  609.  36.  Vermaseren,  126.  37.  Robertson,  1 12.  38.  H.  Smith,  235. 

39.  Bullough,  100.  40.  Briffault  3,  372.  41.  Bullough,  113.  42.  Brewster,  402. 

43.  Castiglioni,  221.  44.  Graves,  G.M.  1,  72.  45.  Spinka,  1 19-20. 

46.  Graves,  G.M.  1,  32;  Spinka,  117.  47.  Robbins,  127.  48.  Lederer,  162. 

49.  Martello,  175-76. 



Cat  Cat 

Along  with  the  owl,  the  bat,  and  the  wolf,  the  animal  most  commonly 
^^^mmmmt^mmm^      associated  with  witches  was  the  cat.  Like  everything  else  associated  with 
witchcraft,  this  idea  dated  back  to  ancient  Goddess-worship. 

The  Teutonic  Mother  Freya  rode  in  a  chariot  drawn  by  cats.1 
Artemis-Diana  often  appeared  in  cat  form,  and  was  identified  with 
the  Egyptian  cat-goddess  Bast.  The  willow  sacred  to  Hecate  became  a 
pussy-willow  that  bore  "catkins"  in  the  spring.2 

Cat  worship  began  in  Egypt,  where  the  first  domesticated  cats 
descended  from  a  wild  ancestor,  felis  hbyca?  Plutarch  said  the  cat  was 
carved  on  Isis's  holy  sistrum  and  represented  the  moon,  "[i]ts  activity  in 
the  night,  and  the  peculiar  circumstances  which  attend  its  fecundity 
making  it  a  proper  emblem  of  that  body.  For  it  is  reported  of  this 
creature,  that  it  at  first  brings  forth  one,  then  two,  afterwards  three, 
and  so  goes  on  adding  one  to  each  former  birth  till  it  comes  to  seven;  so 
that  she  brings  forth  twenty-eight  in  all,  corresponding  as  it  were  to  the 
several  degrees  of  light,  which  appear  during  the  moon's  revolutions."4 

The  Egyptian  word  for  cat  was  Mau,  both  an  imitation  of  the  cat's 
cry,  and  a  mother-syllable.  Cats  were  so  sacred  in  Egypt  that  any  man 
who  killed  one  was  condemned  to  death.  Diodorus,  a  first-century  B.C. 
Greek  historian,  told  of  a  foolish  Roman  who  killed  a  cat  in  Egypt  and 
was  slain  in  his  own  house  by  an  infuriated  mob.5 

Bast,  the  Cat-mother  of  the  city  of  Bubastis,  was  the  benevolent 
aspect  of  Hathor,  the  Lioness.  Festivals  of  Bast  were  joyful  with  music, 
dancing,  jokes,  and  sexual  rites.6  Her  dark  side  was  Hathor  as  the 
leonine  Sphinx,  Sekhmet  (Greek  Sakhmis),  tearer  and  devourer  of 
men.7  "By  my  life,  when  I  slay  men  my  heart  rejoices,"  she  said.  Her 
feast  day  commemorated  a  massacre  once  perpetrated  by  Sekhmet  the 
Great  Cat.  The  Egyptian  calendar  of  lucky  and  unlucky  days  noted  for 
this  one,  with  inadvertent  humor:  "Hostile,  hostile,  hostile  is  the  12th 
Tybi.  Avoid  seeing  a  mouse  on  this  day."8 

Medieval  belief  in  the  cat's  nine  lives  probably  stemmed  from  the 
Egyptian  Ennead,  via  the  mythic  figure  of  the  Ninefold  Goddess.  It  was 
often  said  any  witch  could  assume  a  cat's  shape  nine  times  in  her  life.9 
She  could  also  assume  the  shape  of  a  hare.10  Frazer  observed:  "Cats  are 
precisely  the  animals  into  which,  with  the  possible  exception  of  hares, 
witches  were  most  usually  supposed  to  transform  themselves."  n 

Brought  to  England,  cats  were  confused  with  hares  as  the  Moon- 
goddess's  totems.  The  root  language  of  Sanskrit  called  the  moon  cacin, 
"that  marked  with  the  Hare,"  but  some  said  the  lunar  animal  might  be  a 
cat.12  Queen  Boadicea's  banners  bore  the  device  of  the  moon-hare, 
which  was  also  dedicated  to  the  Saxon  Goddess  Eostre  (Easter)  at  her 
rites  of  spring:  hence  the  Easter  Bunny.  Irish  peasants  still  observe  the 
matriarchal  taboo  on  hare  meat,  saying  to  eat  a  hare  is  to  eat  one's 
grandmother.13  Both  hares  and  cats  had  obviously  yonic  nicknames: 
cunny,  pussy.  A  rabbit  warren  is  still  called  a  cunnary.14 


To  the  Scots,  the  Goddess  of  Witches  was  Mither  o'  the  Mawkins.  Catherine,  Saint 

"Mawkin"  or  "malkm"  was  either  a  hare  or  a  cat.15  When  the  cat 

became  the  primary  lunar  animal,  the  traditional  witch's  familiar  was  ^_ ___ 

Greymalkin  or  Grimalkin,  a  "gray  cat."  Gray  malkins  were  also  the  ^^™^™™^^ 

"pussies"  or  "catkins"  on  the  pussy  willow,  sacred  to  witches  and 
heralding  the  pagan  games  of  May. 

Inquisitor  Nicholas  Remy  said  all  cats  were  demons.  In  1387, 
Lombard  witches  were  said  to  worship  the  devil  as  a  cat.16  Christians 
sometimes  exposed  cats  to  torture  and  fire  along  with  witches.  At  certain 
festivals,  such  as  Midsummer,  Easter,  and  Shrove  Tuesday,  it  was 
customary  to  burn  cats  in  wicker  cages.  "The  cat,  which  represented  the 
devil,  could  never  suffer  enough." 17  According  to  Jewish  belief,  cats 
were  not  made  by  God.  The  first  pair  of  male  and  female  cats  were 
"snorted  forth"  from  the  nostrils  of  a  lion  on  board  Noah's  ark.18 

1.  Turville-Petre,  107;  Branston,  133.  2.  Graves,  CM.  1,115. 

3.  Encyc.  Brit.,  "Cat."  4.  Budge, G.E.  2, 257.  5.  BudgcG.E.  2, 61, 364. 

6.  Larousse,  37.  7.  Budge,  G.E.  1,  517.  8.  Larousse,  36.  9.  Hazlitt,  661. 

10.Briffault2,618-19.  11.  Frazer,  G.B.,  762.  12.  Baring-Gould,  C.M.M.A   204 

13.  Graves,  W.G.,  319.  14.  Wainwright,  272.  15.  Potter  &  Sargent  71 

16.  Cavendish,  P.E.,  223,  247.  17.  Frazer,  G.B.,  760.  18.0chs  106 

Catherine,  Saint 

One  of  the  most  popular  saints  of  all  time — despite  the  fact  that  she 
never  existed.  In  the  hearts  of  many  people  she  was  second  only  to  the 
virgin  Mary.1  Yet  even  Catholic  scholars  admit  her  legend  is 

The  key  to  the  secret  of  St.  Catherine  is  her  so-called  Catherine 
Wheel,  the  wheel  of  fire  on  which  she  was  said  to  have  been 
martyred.  At  Sinai,  the  original  center  of  Catherine's  cult,  the  Asiatic 
Goddess  was  once  portrayed  as  the  Dancer  on  the  Fiery  Wheel  at 
the  hub  of  the  universe.  A  Greek  convent  of  priestess-nuns  at  Sinai  in 
the  8th  century  a.d.  called  themselves  kathari,  "pure  ones,"  a  word 
akin  to  the  Kathakali  temple-dancers  of  India,  who  performed  the 
Dance  of  Time  in  honor  of  Kali,  Goddess  of  the  karmic  wheel.5 

The  symbol  of  the  wheel  figured  prominently  in  beliefs  of  medi- 
eval Gnostics  who  called  themselves  Cathari,  and  revered  St. 
Catherine  almost  as  a  female  counterpart  of  God.  Perhaps  for  this 
reason,  in  the  1 5  th  and  16th  centuries,  after  the  Cathari  were 
exterminated,  Catholic  prelates  made  efforts  to  have  St.  Catherine 
eliminated  from  the  canon.4 

Her  Christian  myth  made  her  the  standard  young  beauty  dedicated 
to  virginity,  and  so  wise  she  could  demolish  the  arguments  of  fifty 
philosophers  at  once.  She  refused  the  hand  of  the  emperor  in  marriage, 
whereupon  he — following  the  hagiographers'  usual  curious  pat- 
tern— essayed  to  win  her  love  by  having  her  imprisoned  and  tortured. 
Her  captors  tried  to  break  her  on  the  fiery  wheel,  but  the  wheel  was 



shattered  by  a  sudden  bolt  of  lightning  and  she  was  saved.  In  the  end, 
she  had  to  be  beheaded.  Milk  flowed  from  her  veins  instead  of  blood. 
Angels  carried  her  body  from  Alexandria  to  Sinai,  where  her  relics  were 
"discovered"  500  years  later.5  Her  divine  bones  constantly  exuded  a 
healing  unguent,  which  was  bottled  and  sold  at  great  profit  to  the 

1.  Brewster,  104.  2.  Artwater,  209.  3.  Encyc.  Brit,  "Kathakali."  4.  Brewster,  499. 
5.  Attwater,  209-10;  Encyc.  Brit.,  "Catherine."  6.  de  Voragine,  715. 

The  Bible  called 
lapis  lazuli  sappur  or 
"holy  blood."  It  was 
the  substance  of  God's 
throne  (Ezekiel 
1:26).  The  Authorized 
Version  inaccurately 
translates  sappur  as 


The  symbol  commonly  opposed  to  the  cross,  as  the  witches'  object 
of  worship;  in  pagan  tradition,  the  Great  Mother's  cosmic  womb.  As  the 
"pot  of  blood  in  the  hand  of  Kali,"  the  cauldron  signified  cyclic 
recurrence,  as  opposed  to  the  patriarchal  view  of  linear  time. 

Shakespeare  followed  the  traditional  pattern  in  associating  the 
cauldron  with  three  witches,  since,  from  its  earliest  appearances  in 
Bronze  Age  and  Iron  Age  cultures,  the  cauldron  stood  for  the  Triple 
Goddess  of  fate,  or  wyrd  in  Old  English:  the  three  Weird  Sisters.1 

The  Egyptian  hieroglyphic  sign  of  the  threefold  Creatress,  mother 
of  the  sun,  the  universe,  and  all  the  gods,  was  a  design  of  three 
cauldrons.2  The  Norse  god  Odin  stole  his  divine  power  from  three 
cauldrons  of  Wise  Blood  in  the  cave-womb  of  the  earth,  where  he 
entered  in  the  shape  of  a  phallic  serpent  and  beguiled  the  earth-giantess 
by  making  love  to  her.3  Then  he  drank  the  magic  blood  from  the 
cauldrons  and  became  a  shape-shifter,  turning  himself  into  a  bird  to 
carry  the  precious  blood  back  to  other  gods.  This  myth  was  based  on 
that  of  the  Aryan  sky-god  Indra,  who  also  drank  the  Goddess's  ambrosia 
from  three  cauldrons,  the  three  wombs  of  Kali's  trinity.4  Indra  stole 
the  elixir  by  allowing  himself  to  be  swallowed  by  a  vast  serpent 
representing  female  sexuality  (Kundalini).  He  too  turned  into  a  bird 
to  carry  the  elixir  to  other  gods. 

In  nearly  all  mythologies  there  is  a  miraculous  vessel.  Sometimes  it 
dispenses  youth  and  life,  at  other  times  it  possesses  the  power  of 
healing,  and  occasionally,  as  with  the  mead  cauldron  of  the  Nordic  Ymir, 
inspiring  strength  and  wisdom  are  to  be  found  in  it.  Often  . . .  it  effects 
transformations. s 

The  cauldron  that  effected  transformations  was  the  same  as  the 
womb  that  churned  out  rebirths,  changing  shapes  each  time.  In  Babylon 
it  was  under  the  control  of  the  Fate-goddess  Siris,  mother  of  stars.  Her 
cauldron  was  the  blue  heaven,  where  she  stirred  the  mead  of 
regeneration.  "Siris,  the  wise  woman,  the  mother,  who  had  done  what 
was  necessary.  Her  cauldron  is  of  shining  lapis  lazuli.  Her  tub  is  of 
pure  silver  and  gold.  In  mead  stands  jubilation,  in  mead  sits  rejoicing."6 

Lapis  lazuli  was  the  blue  heaven  stone  prized  for  its  power  to  cause 
rebirth.  The  Papyrus  of  Nekhtu-Amen  said  an  amulet  of  lapis  lazuli 


stood  for  the  heart  (ab),  source  of  mother-blood;  therefore  the  amulet 
was  inserted  into  a  mummy  to  generate  a  new  heart  for  the 

Chaldean  cosmology  saw  the  sky  as  a  nesting  of  seven  vessels,  the 
planetary  spheres,  like  inverted  bowls  or  cauldrons.  Beneath  the  earth 
lay  the  mirror  image  of  this  celestial  realm,  seven  more  spheres  some- 
times described  as  cauldrons.  A  Hittite  myth  called  them  the  vessels 
of  Mother  Death,  dark  twin  sister  of  the  heavenly  Mother  Siris:  "The 
doorkeeper  has  opened  the  seven  doors,  has  unlocked  the  seven  bolts. 
Down  in  the  dark  earth  there  stand  seven  cauldrons,  their  lids  oiabaru 
metal,  their  handles  of  iron.  Whatever  goes  in  there  comes  not  out 

Egyptians  sometimes  saw  the  seven-circled  nether  womb  as  a 
regenerative  cauldron  called  the  Lake  of  Fire.10  The  corresponding 
celestial  vessels  were  "above  heaven."  n  But  the  divine  cauldron  also 
appeared  right  on  earth,  within  the  sacred  precincts  of  the  temple. 

King  Aeson  was  resurrected  after  being  boiled  in  the  cauldron  of 
Medea,  "Mead  of  Wisdom,"  eponymous  mother  goddess  of  the 
Medes.  King  Minos  too  was  boiled  in  the  Goddess's  cauldron  and 
deified  in  Tartarus,  where  he  became  a  judge  and  a  Lord  of  Death. 
Under  the  name  of  Demeter,  the  Goddess  restored  Pelops  to  life  in  her 
cauldron.15  According  to  his  inscription  at  Mount  Hermon,  the 
Roman  emperor  Elagabalus  was  likewise  "deified  in  the  cauldron."16 

St.  John  the  Evangelist  was  oddly  assimilated  to  the  pagan  myth  of 
the  regenerative  cauldron.  He  was  boiled  in  it  and  came  forth  livelier 
than  before.  His  symbols  were  a  bleeding  heart  and  a  boiling  cauldron.17 
The  syncretism  of  the  "Feast  of  St.  John  at  the  Latin  Gate" 
eventually  became  too  embarrassing,  and  the  festival  was  expunged 
from  the  Christian  calendar  in  I960.18  The  apocryphal  St.  George, 
however,  continued  to  enter  the  cauldron  as  one  of  his  alleged  tortures. 
By  making  the  sign  of  the  cross,  he  rendered  it  lukewarm  and 
harmless,  an  example  of  a  matriarchal  symbol  made  subordinate  to  a 
patriarchal  one.19 

Among  the  Celts  of  Gaul  and  Britain,  the  Cauldron  of  Regen- 
eration was  the  central  religious  mystery:  reincarnation  within  the  womb 
of  the  Goddess.  The  Irish  who  worshipped  the  threefold  Morrigan 
called  the  second  person  of  her  trinity  Badb,  "Boiling,"  the  producer  of 
life,  wisdom,  inspiration,  and  enlightenment.20 

To  Welsh  bards  she  was  the  Goddess  Branwen,  "one  of  the  three 
Matriarchs  of  the  Island,"  owner  of  the  Cauldron  of  Regeneration  in 
which  dead  men  could  be  resuscitated  overnight.21  As  "a  powerful  fairy 
queen,"  the  Lady  of  the  Lake  of  the  Basin,  she  dwelt  in  a  sacred  lake 
from  which  her  brother  Bran  the  Blessed  raised  the  cauldron  later 
known  as  the  Holy  Grail.22  This  pagan  god  was  Christianized  as 
Bron,  alleged  brother-in-law  of  Joseph  of  Arimathea  who  was  supposed 
to  have  brought  the  Grail  to  Britain.  Actually,  the  Grail  was  well 
established  in  British  paganism  long  before  its  legend  was  assimilated  to 


Large  cauldrons  in 
Egyptian  temples  were 
called  shi,  the 
prototype  of  the  brass 
"sea"  in  Solomon's 
temple,  which  was 
certainly  a  Cauldron 
of  Regeneration.12 
Babylonian  temples 
had  the  same  vessel, 
called  apsu  or 
"abyss,"  for  baptism, 
ceremonial  lavage, 
and  rebirth  rituals." 
Such  a "sea" was 
also  called  "the  Deep," 
tehom  in  Hebrew.' * 
Like  the  Christian 
baptismal  font 
descended  from  these 
forerunners,  the 
cauldron  or  "sea"  was  a 
womb  symbol. 
Solomon's  "sea" 
represented  his 
Goddess,  Ashtoreth 
(Astarte).  It  was 
decorated  with  her 
yonic  lilies:  "The 
brim  thereof  was 
wrought  like  the 
brim  of  a  cup,  with 
flowers  of  lilies" 
(1  Kings  7:26). 


Cauldron  that  of  Christ.23  Branwen,  Goddess  of  the  Cauldron,  had  yet  another 

incarnation  in  medieval  romance  as  Brangwain,  the  wise-woman  who 

^^^^^^^^^^^m      gave  Tristan  and  Iseult  their  fatal  love  potion.24 

The  Goddess  had  earthly  incarnations  too.  Childeric,  son  of 
Merovech  or  Merovig,  founder  of  the  first  dynasty  of  French  kings, 
married  a  druidess  named  Basina  (Cauldron),  who  foretold  the  future  of 
his  dynasty.25 

Like  the  "seas"  in  ancient  temples,  the  Cauldron  of  Regeneration 
also  had  its  counterparts  on  earth.  Each  Celtic  temple  had  its  sacred 
cauldron.  Aubrey's  A  Natural  History  of  Surrey  mentioned  a  pagan 
cauldron  still  preserved  in  Frensham  Church,  "an  extraordinary  great 
kettle  or  cauldron"  brought  by  the  fairies,  according  to  local  legend.26 
An  8th-century  Salic  Law  against  priestesses — or,  as  the  church 
called  them,  witches — prohibited  the  pagan  practice  of  "bearing  the 
cauldron"  in  procession  to  "the  places  where  they  cook."27 

The  Welsh  bard  Taliesin  claimed  to  have  received  the  mead  of 
wisdom  from  his  mother,  the  Goddess  Cerridwen,  "the  Celtic  Great 
Mother,  the  Demeter."28 

She  resolved,  according  to  the  arts  of  the  books  ofFferyllt  (Fairy-wisdom)., 
to  boil  a  Cauldron  of  Inspiration  and  Science  for  her  son  . . .  which 
from  the  beginning  of  its  boiling  might  not  cease  to  boil  for  a  year  and  a 
day,  until  three  blessed  drops  were  obtained  of  the  Grace  of 
Inspiration. 29 

Taliesin's  poetry  contained  oblique  allusions  to  the  magic  caul- 
dron, couched  in  the  semi-opaque  terms  that  concealed  mystical  secrets 
from  the  uninitiated.  His  "year  and  a  day"  was  a  reference  to  the 
lunar  calender  of  the  pagans,  a  year  of  thirteen  28-day  lunar  months, 
364  days,  with  one  more  day  to  make  365.  The  same  "year  and  a 
day"  occurred  in  many  fairy  tales.  (See  Menstrual  Calendar.)  Talie- 
sin's Preiddeu  Annwn  (Harrowings  of  Hell)  spoke  of  the  Nine 
Maidens,  priestesses  of  the  perpetual  fire  that  boiled  the  symbolic  world 
cauldron;  and  of  the  yonic  shrine,  Hel's  gate,  to  which  the  king's 
sword  (or  phallus)  was  lifted: 

In  Caer  Pedryvan  (four  times  revolving) 

The  Word  from  the  cauldron  it  would  be  spoken 

By  the  breath  of  nine  maidens  it  would  be  kindled, 

The  head  of  Hades 's  cauldron — what  is  it  like? 

A  rim  it  has,  with  pearls  round  its  border; 

It  boils  not  a  cowards  food:  it  would  not  be  perjured. 

The  sword  ofLlwch  Lleawc  would  be  lifted  to  it. 

And  in  the  hand  ofLleminawc  was  it  left. 

And  before  the  door  of  Hell's  gate  lamps  were  burning, 

And  when  we  accompanied  Arthur,  a  brilliant  effort, 

Seven  alone  did  we  return  from  Caer  Veddwit. i0 

Nine  sisters  were  the  same  as  the  nine  Goddesses  of  the 
Fortunate  Isles  ruled  by  Morgan  le  Fay,  and  the  nine  Muses  of  Greek 
myth,  and  the  pre-Hellenic  ninefold  Goddess  Nonacris,  queen  of  the 


Stygian  birth-gate.51  She,  or  they,  came  from  Oriental  traditions  almost 
as  old  as  civilization.  During  their  Bronze  Age  Shang  period,  the 
Chinese  represented  the  Great  Goddess  of  birth  by  nine  tripod  caul- 
drons like  the  mixing-vessels  of  the  Muses.32 

The  primitive  cult  of  the  cauldron  obviously  discouraged  "cow- 
ards" because  it  was  cult  of  martyrdom.  Like  Christian  martyrs,  the 
cauldron's  victims  were  promised  immediate  resurrection  into  a  life  of 
glory.  Strabo  spoke  of  Cimbrian  priestesses  who  sacrificed  men, 
making  them  divine  heroes,  and  caught  their  blood  in  magic  cauldrons 
and  read  omens  in  their  entrails.33 

Some  myths  hint  at  cannibal  cauldrons  large  enough  to  boil  a 
human  body,  and  beliefs  that  death  in  the  cauldron  was  not  really 
death.  A  gypsy  legend  spoke  of  a  hero  forced  by  a  mystic  Lady  to  milk 
dangerous  mares,  then  bathe  in  a  boiling  cauldron  of  their  milk.  A 
god  in  the  form  of  a  royal  horse  promised  to  breathe  frost  on  the 
cauldron  and  render  it  comfortably  lukewarm.34  The  story  recalls  the 
Corinthians'  "man-eating  mares,"  or  horse-masked  priestesses,  who 
caused  Bellerophon  to  mount  to  heaven  on  the  royal  horse  Pegasus, 
symbol  of  apotheosis  after  death.35 

Horseback  riding  is  a  sign  of  deification  on  the  famous  silver 
sacrificial  cauldron  recovered  from  a  Gundestrup  peat  bog.  Manufac- 
tured about  100  B.C.,  the  vessel  showed  a  ceremony  of  sacrifice.  Victims 
appear  to  be  identified  with  the  Horned  God,  Cernunnos,  seated  in  a 
yogi's  lotus  position  holding  male  and  female  symbols,  the  serpent  and 
tore.36  On  foot,  a  row  of  victims  approach  the  sacred  cauldron  which 
is  shield-shaped  and  double-lobed,  resembling  a  yoni.  A  priest  or 
priestess  is  shown  plunging  one  victim  headfirst  into  the  vessel.37 
Above,  the  heroes  depart  glorified,  on  horseback,  riding  literally  into  the 
sunset,  which  represented  heaven.  Cernunnos  himself  was  dismem- 
bered and  cooked  in  a  cauldron  to  rise  again,  which  made  him  the 
obvious  god  for  such  rites.38 

A  scene  similar  to  that  of  the  Gundestrup  Cauldron  occurs  on  a 
sacred  cista  from  Palestrina-Praeneste.  Rome's  Mother  of  Time, 
Anna  Perenna,  appears  to  the  dying  god  Mars  in  the  guise  of  his  virgin 
bride,  Minerva.  She  stands  over  her  naked  lover  and  pushes  his  head 
down  into  a  boiling  cauldron,  while  the  dog  of  the  underworld  gate 
looks  on,  as  also  on  the  Gundestrup  example.39 

Some  pagan  Mysteries  employed  visions  of  the  Cauldron  as 
symbolic  death  and  rebirth.  Before  a  Siberian  shaman  could  practice, 
he  was  required  to  undergo  hallucinatory  experiences  of  being  chopped 
to  pieces  and  boiled  in  a  cauldron,  sometimes  for  a  period  as  long  as 
three  years.  Yakut,  Buryat,  and  other  tribes  say  the  shaman  must  be 
killed  by  the  spirits  of  ancestors,  cooked  in  their  magic  cauldron,  then 
given  new  flesh.  "Shaman"  comes  from  Tungusic  saman,  "one  who 
died,"  a  man  assimilated  to  the  Lord  of  Death  called  Samana  in 
Sanskrit.  Tibetan  shamans  made  the  soul-journey  to  the  "Great  Hell" 
pictured  as  an  iron  cauldron,  called  House  of  Iron  or  Iron  Mountain. 


Strabo  Greek 
traveler,  geographer, 
and  historian  of  the 
first  century  B.C.,  a 
follower  of  the  Stoic 

Cimbri  Germanic 
tribes  from  Jutland, 
which  Romans  called 
the  Cimbrian  peninsula. 
In  the  2nd  century 
B.C.,  a  Cimbrian  army 
marched  against 
Rome  and  caused  great 
consternation  in  the 



There  the  aspirant  was  dismembered  by  rakshasas — obsolete  ancestral 
deities — and  boiled,  not  in  punishment  for  sin  but  as  an  initiatory 

Skald-shamans  of  Scandinavia  made  the  same  soul-journey  to 
Hvergelmir,  the  Mighty  Roaring  Cauldron,  source  of  life-giving 
waters  at  the  foundations  of  the  earth.  This  was  another  version  of  the 
triple  cauldron  in  the  earth-womb,  from  which  Odin  received  inspira- 
tion and  power.  Hvergelmir  was  triple  too,  accompanied  by  the  fount  of 
wisdom  and  memory  called  Mimir  (an  archaic  "mother"),  and  the 
fount  of  ongoing  life  called  Urdarbrunner,  the  stream  of  Mother  Earth. 
Founts  and  cauldrons  in  the  earth  were  tended  by  the  three  Fates 
(Norns),  of  whom  the  first  was  Mother  Earth  herself.41 

Even  when  the  Cauldron  of  Regeneration  entered  Christian 
tradition  as  the  Holy  Grail,  supposedly  the  chalice  of  Christ's  last 
supper,  it  was  referred  to  as  an  escuele  or  "cauldron."42  Arthur's  knights 
originally  sought  the  Grail  in  the  underworld  of  Annwn,  receiving 
their  divine  vision  of  it  in  the  castle  of  Elaine,  or  Elen,  the  virgin  aspect 
of  the  triple  Moon-goddess.  It  appeared  in  her  hands,  heralded  by  her 
yonic  dove.  It  meant  death  for  her  chosen  one,  Galahad,  who  reigned  as 
a  sacred  king,  then  died  at  the  altar  as  he  saw  his  vision  of  the  Grail.43 

The  Cistercian  Estoire  del  Saint  Graal  said  "two  heathen  rulers," 
Mordrain  and  Nascien  (Death  and  Rebirth)  were  blinded  by  the 
vision  of  the  Grail,  but  healed  by  the  touch  of  the  lance  that  pierced 
Christ,  both  of  these  objects  being  kept  in  the  same  sanctuary.44  The 
motive  seems  to  have  been  to  belittle  the  female  symbol  (grail)  in  favor 
of  the  male  symbol  (lance). 

1.  Goodrich,  18.  2.  Book  of  the  Dead,  1 14.  3.  Lamusse,  257. 

4.  Campbell,  Or.M.,  182.  5.  Jung  &  von  Franz,  1 14.  6.  Assyr.  &  Bab.  Lit,  308. 

7.  Budge,  E.M.,  30.  8.  Graves,  W.G.,  290.  9.  Hooke,  M.E.M.,  101. 

10.  Book  of  the  Dead,  205-6.  11.  Budge,  G.E.  1, 203.  12.  Maspero,  283. 

13.Hooke,S.P.,47.  14.  Lethaby,219.  15.  Graves,  G.M.  2,27.  16.  Gaster,  587. 

17.  Brewster,  230.  18.  Attwater,  189.  19.  de  Voragine,  236. 

20.  Graves,  W.G,  409.  21.  Rees,  47.  22.  Baring-Gould,  C.M.M.A.,  619. 

23.  Campbell,  CM.,  533.  24.  Guerber,  L.M.A.,  240.  25.  Guerber,  L.R.,  147-48. 

26.  Keightley,  295.  27.  J.B.  Russell,  69.  28.  Baring-Gould,  C.M.M.A.,  620. 

29.  Briffault  3,451.30.  Malory  1 ,  xxi.  3 1 .  Graves,  W.G,  406. 

32.  Campbell,  Or.M.,  397.  33.  Wendt,  137.  34.  Groome,  107. 

35.  Graves,  G.M.  1,  255-56.  36.  Lamusse,  142.  37.  Cavendish,  V.H.H.,  49. 

38.  Jung  &  von  Franz,  373.  39.  Dumezil,  213,  243. 

40.  Eliade,  S.,  41, 159,  237, 439.  41.  Branston,  53,  82;  Turville-Petre,  246. 

42.  Campbell,  CM.,  531.  43.  Malory  2, 130, 268.  44.  Campbell,  CM.,  535. 

Porphyry  (ca.  234- 
305  a.d.)  Neoplatonist 
philosopher,  scholar, 
and  writer;  biographer 
of  Plotinus;  an 
opponent  of  the 
Christian  church, 
which  eventually 
destroyed  most  of  his 


Porphyry  said  before  there  were  temples,  all  religious  rites  took  place 
in  caves.1  The  cave  was  universally  identified  with  the  womb  of  Mother 
Earth,  the  logical  place  for  symbolic  birth  and  regeneration.  Etruscan 
and  Roman  temples  featured  a  subterranean  mundus,  meaning  both 
"earth"  and  "womb."2  Similarly,  the  Sanskrit  word  for  a  sanctuary, 
garbha-grha,  meant  "womb."3 

Holy  places  of  Hinduism  were  caves  representing  the  Great 



Mother's  yoni.  Many  gompas  (holy  hermitages)  were  first  established  Cave 

in  caves.  Like  the^mountain  of  paradise,  home  of  the  gods,  the  Four 

Great  Caves  of  Sikkim  were  distinguished  according  to  the  four  ^^^^^___^_ 

cardinal  points.  North  is  the  cave  of  the  god's  hill;  west,  the  cave  of  great 

happiness;  south,  the  cave  of  occult  fairies;  east,  the  secret  cave,  from 

which  the  sun  is  born.4 

Among  the  oldest  forms  of  the  Hindu  Goddess  was  Kurukulla,  a" 
matrikadevi  colored  red  like  the  womb,  and  called  Mother  of  Cav- 
erns.5 As  an  emanation  of  Kali  she  was  worshipped  in  cave-temple 
complexes  like  Ellora,  Ajanta,  Elephanta.  Her  western  counterpart 
was  Phrygian  Cybele,  "Cavern-dweller,"  the  Great  Mother  of  the 
Gods.  A  Latin  form  of  her  name  was  Sybil,  the  prophetic  spirit  in  the 
cavern-dwelling  Cumaean  sybils,  by  whose  order  the  Great  Mother  of 
the  Gods  was  brought  to  Rome  in  204  b.c. 

Cybele's  castrated  priests  claimed  none  of  their  brotherhood  ever 
died.  Instead,  they  went  "down  into  the  cavern"  to  be  united  with 
their  Goddess.  Cybele's  cavern-shrines  were  also  called  marriage  cham- 
bers, like  the  pastos  of  Eleusis.  The  Alexandrian  poet  Nicander  called 
them  "marriage  bowers  of  Rhea  Lobrine."6  They  were  also  the  "sacred 
subterranean  places"  where  those  who  had  emasculated  themselves 
in  honor  of  Attis  and  Cybele  used  to  come  to  deposit  the  offering  of 
their  genitals.7 

Rhea  was  the  Cretan  name  of  the  same  Goddess,  during  the  long 
period  when  fatherhood  was  unknown  or  negligible  in  Cretan  soci- 
ety.8 All  life  was  supposed  to  have  arisen  from  her  uterine  cave  on 
Mount  Dicte,  whence  came  the  e-dicts  of  her  holy  law;  hence  her 
title  of  Dictynna,  Lawgiver.  She  was  also  called  Britomartis  the  "sweet 
virgin,"  the  mother  without  a  spouse.9  From  the  same  uterine  cave 
she  gave  birth  to  Zeus,  who  later  claimed  to  be  Father  of  Gods. 

Cave-temples  of  Rhea  Dictynna  evolved  into  dicteria,  which  the 
Laws  of  Solon  designated  public  brothels.  In  the  era  of  the  promiscu- 
ous priestesses,  words  for  cave,  temple,  and  brothel  were  often 
interchangeable.10  To  visit  the  cave  and  lie  with  the  holy  harlot  was 
an  act  of  worship.  During  the  early  Christian  era,  most  pagan  mystery 
cults  celebrated  their  most  sacred  rites  in  caves  or  underground 

Followers  of  Mithra  considered  the  cave  so  essential  to  proper 
worship  that,  if  the  site  of  a  temple  had  no  natural  cave,  an  artificial 
one  was  dug.  The  cave  on  the  Vatican  belonged  to  Mithra  until  376 
a.d.,  when  a  city  prefect  suppressed  the  cult  of  the  rival  Savior  and 
seized  the  shrine  in  the  name  of  Christ,  on  the  very  birthday  of  the 
pagan  god,  December  25.11 

Despite  the  church's  efforts  at  suppression,  the  old  deities  contin- 
ued to  be  worshipped  in  sacred  caves  for  many  centuries.  So  many 
"grottoes"  contained  pagan  idols  that  decorative  ideas  for  cathedral 
sculptures  were  copied  from  them:  hence  the  grotesques  or  "grotto- 
creatures"  swarming  in  Gothic  art.  As  late  as  the  1 5th  century,  Pope 


Cave  Calixtus  II  tried  to  forbid  religious  ceremonies  in  sacred  caves.12  As 

entrances  to  the  underworld,  caves  were  still  associated  with  the  Great 
^^^^^^^^^^^^      Mother's  yonic  gate.  A  long-revered  gate  to  the  womb  of  the  world 
was  a  sea-cave  on  the  southern  Peloponnese  near  the  shrine  of  Mar- 
mari — Mother  Mari,  the  Sea-goddess  whose  other  names  were 
Aphrodite  Marina,  Marah,  and  Mary.13 

Up  to  the  1 8th  century,  a  cave  called  Tangrogo  in  Denbighshire 
was  kept  by  "three  fairy  sisters" — the  three  Fates — whose  footprints 
were  often  seen  around  the  edge  of  its  magic  pool.  The  cave  was  said  to 
contain  "hidden  treasures,"  a  term  that  often  meant  paraphernalia  of 
the  Old  Religion.14 

Spenser  said  the  hidden  treasures  of  the  Faery  Queen's  Bower  of 
Bliss  were  the  same  as  those  of  the  virgin  Mary's  secret  "enclosed 
garden":  a  magic  pool  of  regeneration,  a  Tree  of  Life,  singing  birds, 
apples,  and  roses,  including  the  central  Rose  of  Love.  Andreas 
Capellanus  said  the  grotto  of  the  pagan  Goddess  was  a  Palace  of  Love 
in  the  center  of  the  earth  (in  medio  mundi),  with  the  male  and 
female  symbols  of  a  Tree  of  Life  and  a  sacred  spring.15 

Sacred  caves  were  still  used  as  "marriage  bowers"  long  after 
paganism  had  been  forced  underground — literally.  Bards  who  adored 
the  heretical  Goddess  of  Love  (Minne)  mentioned  certain  Grottoes  of 
Love,  hewn  by  heathen  giants  in  the  wild  mountains,  where  people 
could  hide  when  "they  wished  privacy  to  make  love."  Gottfried  von 
Strassburg  said  whenever  such  a  cave  was  found,  it  was  sealed  with  a 
bronze  door  inscribed  La  fossiure  a  le  gent  amant,  the  Grotto  for  People 
in  Love.  "Above,  the  vault  was  finely  joined,  and  on  the  keystone 
there  was  a  crown,  embellished  beautifully  by  the  goldsmith's  art  with 
an  incrustation  of  gems.  The  pavement  below  was  of  a  smooth, 
shining  and  rich  marble,  green  as  grass.  In  the  center  stood  a  bed, 
handsome  and  cleanly  hewn  of  crystal,  high  and  wide,  well  raised 
from  the  ground,  and  engraved  round  about  with  letters  which — 
according  to  the  legend — proclaimed  its  dedication  to  the  goddess 
Love." 16 

The  healing  waters  of  all  the  sacred  springs  in  Europe  acquired 
new  myths  ascribing  their  virtues  to  saints  or  to  the  Virgin,  but  their 
real  traditions  sprang  from  the  regenerative  caves  of  the  pagan  Goddess. 
Up  to  the  19th  century  a  sacred  cave  near  Dunskey,  Scotland,  was 
used  for  the  curative  magic  of  its  spring.  The  sick  were  brought  from 
great  distances  to  be  bathed  in  the  waters,  always  "at  the  change  of 
the  moon,"  showing  that  the  place  was  a  matriarchal  shrine.  Its  magic 
baptisms  were  believed  especially  beneficial  to  weak  or  undernour- 
ished children.17 

1.  Robertson,  111.  2.  Hays,  181.  3.  Campbell, CM.,  168.  4.  Waddell,  256-57. 

5.  Larousse,  359.  6.  Gaster, 609.  7.  Vermaseren,  111.  8.  Briffault  1,  392. 

9.  Larousse,  86.  10.  Sadock,  Kaplan  &  Freedman,  16. 

1  l.J.H.  Smith,  D.C.P.,  146.  12.  Jung,  M.H.S.,  234.  13.  Hughes,  159. 

14.  Hazlitt,  580.  1 5.  Wilkins,  128,  139.  16.  Campbell,  CM.,  44.  17.  Hazlitt,  420. 


Cecilia,  Saint  -    ... 

'  Cealia,  Saint 

Mythical  saint  whose  legend  was  built  on  some  bones  discovered  by  Centaurs 

Pope  Paschal  I  in  a  Roman  catacomb  bearing  the  name  Calliste—  — — — __ 

probably  Artemis  Calliste  as  the  Muse  of  music,  which  became  the 
special  province  of  "St.  Cecilia."'  Fired  by  the  current  mania  for  relic- 
hunting  (9th  century  a.d.),  the  pope  immediately  declared  that 
Cecilia  was  a  virgin  martyr  of  the  second  or  maybe  the  third  century, 
and  that  she  was  tortured  to  death  for  rejecting  her  pagan  bridegroom 
on  the  very  day  of  their  wedding.  He  ordered  her  canonized  at  once.2 
The  name  Cecilia  meant  Lily  of  Heaven,  another  ancient  title  of 
the  Goddess.3 

1.  Encyc.  Brit,  "Cecilia."  2.  Attwater,  81.3.  Chaucer,  454. 


Greek  koimeteria  was  a  Place  of  the  Mother,  where  the  dead  could 
rest  as  close  as  possible  to  the  Goddess's  temples.  The  custom  was 
continued  in  Christian  Europe.  The  church-yard,  home  of  the  dead, 
derived  from  Germanic  gar d  ox  garth,  meaning  "earth"  or  "world,"  i.e., 
the  world  of  the  dead  under  the  soil. 

Tantric  dakinis  celebrated  the  rites  of  the  dead  in  cremation 
grounds,  "where  ordinary  people  feared  to  go,"  because  they  were 
death-priestesses  intimately  acquainted  with  necropoli.1  Their  Goddess, 
Kali  Ma  the  Destroyer,  was  the  same  queen  of  tombs  called  Kalma  in 
Finno-Ugric  myth.2  Dakinis  became  European  vilas,  valas,  or  wilis, 
women  associated  with  the  dead,  later  called  witches.  The  traditional 
legend  of  witches  celebrating  their  sabbats  in  cemeteries  may  have  had  a 
real  basis  in  ancient  matriarchy. 

1.  Rawson,  E.A.,  152.  2.  Larousse,  306. 


Greek  horse-spirits  derived  from  Hindu  asvins  and  the  man-horse 
wizards  of  central  Asia.  Centaurs  were  magic  shape-shifters,  and  teach- 
ers of  the  Hellenic  gods.1  Their  most  familiar  appearance  was  with 
the  head  and  shoulders  of  a  man  and  the  body  and  legs  of  a  horse.  Their 
other  name  was  Magnetes,  "great  ones."2  They  have  been  connect- 
ed with  Latin  centuria,  a  company  of  100  soldiers.5  Perpetual  rivals  of 
the  Centaurs  were  the  Lapiths,  "men-who-use-stone-weapons,"  a 
hint  of  their  extreme  antiquity.  See  Horse. 

1.  Graves,  W.G.,  255-56.  2.  Lawson,  244.  3.  Graves,  CM.  1,  361. 


Ceraunos,  Saint 

Ceraunos,  Saint 

Canonized  form  of  one  of  the  phallic  lightning-gods  who  descended 
into  Earth's  womb,  like  Lucifer,  to  become  a  lord  of  the  underworld. 
Pagans  sometimes  called  the  lightning  Gemma  Cerauniae,  the  Jewel 
of  Ceraunos — "jewel"  in  the  same  sense  as  the  Tantric  (male)  Jewel  in 
the  (female)  Lotus.1  The  Greeks  thought  when  Ceraunos  descended 
into  the  underworld,  he  became  Charon,  the  ferryman  of  the  Styx.2  As 
a  saint,  he  had  little  purpose  other  than  to  attract  to  Christianity  those 
who  had  formerly  worshipped  him  as  a  psychopomp. 
1.  Leland,  p.  250.  2.  H.  Smith,  p.  227 


Sign  of  Ceres 


Latin  form  of  the  Great  Goddess,  cognate  with  Greek  Kore  or  Core, 
identified  with  Demeter  as  Mother  Earth.  As  the  earth-ruling  aspect  of 
the  Goddess's  trinity,  Ceres  combined  with  Juno  as  queen  of  heaven, 
and  Proserpine  as  queen  of  the  underworld.  She  was  called  Ceres 
Legifera,  "Ceres  the  Lawgiver."  Her  priestesses  were  considered  the 
foundresses  of  the  Roman  legal  system.1 

Ceres  ruled  Rome  through  her  sacred  matronae,  during  that  lost 
period  of  four  centuries  before  200  B.C.,  a  period  whose  written 
records  were  destroyed  by  later  patriarchal  historians,  leaving  only  a 
residue  of  myths  and  religious  customs  that  were  only  vaguely 
explained.2  Farmers  viewed  her  as  the  source  of  all  food  and  kept  her 
rites  faithfully,  for  fear  of  crop  failure. 

This  was  true  not  only  of  Roman  farmers  but  even  of  Christian 
farmers.  Ceres's  greatest  annual  festival,  the  Cerealia,  was  celebrated 
in  the  British  Isles  almost  to  the  present  day.  An  account  of  the  Shire  of 
Murray  in  the  late  19th  century  said,  "In  the  middle  of  June,  farmers 
go  round  their  corn  with  burning  torches,  in  memory  of  the  Cerealia."3 

1.  Bachofen,  192.  2.  Dumezil,  10.  3.  Hazlitt,  101. 


Celtic  version  of  the  Horned  God,  shown  in  sacred  art  with  antlers 
strapped  to  his  head,  seated  in  lotus  position  like  a  yogi.1  This  contem- 
plative pose  was  typical  of  Gallo-Roman  deities  in  the  first  millenium 
B.C.2  Cernunnos  was  a  consort  of  the  Moon-goddess,  whose  Roman 
name  Diana  may  have  been  related  to  Sanskrit  dhyana,  "yogic 
contemplation."5  Medieval  romances  spoke  of  pagan  heroes  who  ac- 
quired godlike  powers  by  falling  into  a  trance  of  "contemplation"  of 
the  Goddess  as  lady-love.4 

1 .  Campbell,  Or.M.,  307.  2.  Larousse,  232.  3.  Campbell,  Or.M.,  440. 
4.  Goodrich,  69. 


Cerridwen  Cerridwen 

Celtic  name  for  the  Triple  Goddess,  especially  as  the  fearsome  death-  Chakra 

totem,  a  white,  corpse-eating  Sow  representing  the  moon.  She  was  the         ■^■^■^■^^m 

same  as  Syrian  Astarte  or  Greek  Demeter,  both  of  whom  appeared  as 

sows.  So  did  Freya,  one  of  whose  titles  was  a  cognate  of  Cerridwen  that 

is  Syr,  "the  Sow."1  var.  Cerdo 

^  Cerdo  is  the  Spanish  word  for  pig.  Harvest  dances  in  the  Spanish 
Pyrenees  were  cerdana,  "pig-dances,"  celebrated  in  honor  of  the 
Goddess  who  both  gave  and  took  away,  and  harvested  souls  in  her 
character  as  "the  source  of  life,  and  the  receptacle  of  the  dead."2  A 
rich  wheat-growing  region  in  the  Pyrenees  was  dominated  by  her  sacred 
town,  Puigcerda,  or  Cerdo's  Hill.3  Her  cult  probably  went  back  to  the 
prehistoric  temples  of  Malta,  which  had  images  of  the  Goddess  in  the 
shape  of  a  sow. 

Welsh  bards  who  composed  funerary  elegies  called  themselves 
cerddorion,  sons  of  Cerridwen  or  Cerdo.  Their  greatest  hero,  Talie- 
sin,  a  founder  of  their  craft,  was  said  to  have  been  born  of  Cerridwen 
and  specially  treated  by  her  to  a  few  precious  drops  of  magical 
inspiration  from  her  Cauldron. 

l.Turville-Petre,  168.  2.  Baring-Gould,  C.M.M.A.,  621.  3.  Graves,  W.G.,  58-60 

Chad,  Saint 

Legendary  bishop  of  Mercia,  said  to  be  a  follower  of  the  canonized 
princess  Wereburg  (see  Convent).  He  was  probably  never  a  real 
person.  His  "brother"  St.  Cedd  was  called  bishop  of  London,  but 
both  Chad  and  Cedd  were  variants  of  the  pagan  god  Ceadda,  who  was 
associated  with  magic  healing  springs.  In  the  runic  calendar,  the 
emblem  of  St.  Chad  was  a  palm  branch,  or  Tree  of  Life.1 

A  pagan  deity  named  Chaddi  is  still  worshipped  by  the  Samoyeds, 
who  practice  a  nominal  Christianity  as  long  as  all  goes  well,  but  in 
time  of  trouble  return  to  their  own  Chaddi.  "Heathen  services  are 
conducted  by  night  within  old  stone-circles,  and  all  images  of  Chaddi 
are  carefully  screened  from  view. . . .  [Wjithin  these  cromlechs  were 
formerly  offered  up  those  human  sacrifices  with  which  the  natives 
used  to  propitiate  Chaddi."2 

1.  Brewster,  122.  2.  Johnson,  139. 


Tantric  term  for  the  magic  circle  of  worshippers,  alternating  men  and 
women  after  the  manner  of  the  egg-and-dart  frieze;  also,  one  of  the 
"rings"  or  stages  of  enlightenment,  visualized  as  steps  ascending  the 
spinal  column,  as  the  inner  serpent  goddess  Kundalini  uncoils  from  the 


Chaldean  pelvis  upward  to  the  head.  This  ascent  of  the  chakras  was  likened  to 

Chaos  different  stages  of  initiatory  teaching,  each  taking  place  in  a  magic  circle 

^HH^^^^HBB^H      whose  members  cooperated  in  the  effort  of  comprehension. 

The  chakra  was  essentially  the  same  as  the  Sufic  halka,  "magic 
circle,"  called  the  heart  and  basic  unit  of  Sufism.1  The  purpose  of  a 
properly  conducted  chakra  was  to  make  each  participant  feel  "as  if  the 
Shakti  was  their  own  Mother  who  had  borne  them."2  She  was  a 
mother-bride,  compounded  of  the  felt  presence  of  both  Goddess  and 
woman.  In  the  classic  chakra,  each  man  had  his  wife  or  shakti  to  his 
left,  while  the  Lord  of  the  Chakra  with  his  shakti  occupied  the  center  of 
the  circle.3  European  pagan  religions  maintained  the  same  arrange- 
ment, which  eventually  became  the  pattern  of  the  circular  folk  dance. 

1.  Shah,  21.2.  Avalon,  166.  3.  Mahanirvanatantra,  cxxi. 


"Moon  worshipper,"  a  common  name  for  Mesopotamian  astrologers 
who  studied  the  movements  of  the  moon  in  relation  to  the  stars.1 
Because  the  magic  powers  of  the  Chaldeans  commanded  respect 
nearly  everywhere  in  the  ancient  world,  biblical  writers  made  Abraham 
a  Chaldean  (Genesis  1 1:28).  The  same  name  was  still  being  applied 
to  astrologers  and  wizards  in  the  1 5  th  century  a.d.2 

1 .  Briffault  2, 600.  2.  Lea  unabridged,  772. 


Chinese  Moon-goddess,  sole  keeper  of  the  ambrosia  of  immortality 
(menstrual  blood).  Her  husband,  the  Excellent  Archer,  became  in- 
tensely jealous  of  her  monopoly  of  life-magic  and  quarreled  with  her. 
So  she  left  him,  as  Lilith  left  Adam,  and  went  to  live  in  the  moon 
forever,  dispensing  her  precious  elixir  to  women  only.1 

1.  Larousse,  383. 


Greek  word  for  the  undifferentiated  mixture  of  raw  elements  sup- 
posed to  occupy  the  World-Goddess's  womb  before  creation  and  after 
destruction  of  each  recurrent  universe.  It  meant  the  Goddess  herself 
in  her  state  of  "eternal  flux,"  when  the  fluid  of  her  womb  was  not  yet 
clotted  into  the  formative  state  of  a  solid  world.  Chaos  is  expressed  in 
the  Bible  as  the  condition  of  the  earth  before  creation,  "without  form" 
and  "void"  (Genesis  1:2).  See  Doomsday;  Tiamat;  Tohu  Bohu. 


^harites  _. 


"Graces,"  heavenly  dispensers  of  charts  (Latin  caritas),  the  grace  of  Charlemagne 

Mother  Aphrodite,  which  the  Bible  translates  either  "love"  or  "charity"       .^^^^ 

(1  Corinthians  13).  The  Charites  were  ancient  manifestations  of  the 

Triple  Goddess.  Pausanias  said  they  were  worshipped  at  Orchomenos 

as  three  standing  stones.1  The  classic  myth  of  their  nymph-hood 

hardly  described  them;  nor  did  their  Christian  form,  the  mythical  St. 

Charity.  See  Grace;  Sophia,  Saint. 

1.  Dumezil,  166. 


Frankish  emperor,  whose  reign  (768-814)  was  the  second  great 
turning-point  in  the  history  of  the  Holy  Roman  Empire.  He  was  the 
second  Constantine.  He  found  it  useful  to  be  a  Christian,  since  the 
church  condoned  his  wars  of  acquisition — as  pagan  tribal  religions 
would  not — and  took  its  share  of  the  spoils,  eventually  rewarding 
Charlemagne  with  the  crown  of  the  Empire.  He  was  also  allowed  a 
special  status  of  matrimony,  not  granted  to  other  men.  He  had  four 
wives  and  innumerable  concubines,  which  the  church  tolerantly  de- 
scribed as  "marriages  of  the  second  rank." ' 

Charlemagne's  reign  was  a  painful  history  of  aggression  against  the 
matriarchal  religions  of  his  ancestors.  In  772  he  massacred  more  than 
4000  Saxons  and  destroyed  their  shrine  at  Heresburg,  an  omphalos  of 
the  earth-mother  Hera.  He  cut  down  the  phallic  tree  trunk  Irminsul, 
"Column  of  the  World,"  the  same  axis  mundi  that  Greeks  called  the 
Great  Herm,  Norwegians  called  Yggdrasil,  and  Christians  called  the 

After  destroying  shrines  to  demoralize  the  pagan  clans,  Charle- 
magne imposed  vassalage  on  them  and  converted  them  to 
Christianity  by  the  simple  offer  of  a  choice  between  Christ  and 
immediate  death.  All  who  rejected  baptism  were  to  be  slain  at  once. 
In  33  years  of  constant  war,  Charlemagne  built  the  Holy  Roman 
Empire,  at  the  cost  of  so  many  lives  that  historians  have  not  even 
tried  to  estimate  the  extent  of  the  slaughter.3 

Charlemagne's  policy  of  conversion  by  the  sword  succeeded  so 
well  that  the  church  backed  Christian  rulers  in  this  kind  of  military 
activity  ever  since.  As  the  Song  of  Roland  put  it:  "The  bishops  bless  the 
waters  and  convert  the  heathen.  If  any  man  protests,  he  is  burned  or 
put  to  the  sword."4 

Sometimes  the  blessed  waters  themselves  served  to  execute  the 
unregenerate  heathen.  It  was  said  that  converts  made  under  the  rule 
of  St.  Goar  were  held  under  water  until  they  either  accepted  Christ,  or 

1.  Murstein,  143.  2.  Reinach,  144.  3.  H.  Smith,  251. 
4.  Goodrich,  96.  5.  Guerber,  L.R.,  193. 


Charm  Charm 

as  '  '   e  Old  English  cyrm,  a  hymn  or  choral  song,  came  from  Latin  carmen, 

^^^^^^^^^^"      a  sacred  incantation  to  the  Goddess  Carmenta,  inventor  of  alphabets 
and  "words  of  power." '  A  "charm"  reflected  men's  ancient  belief 
that  women  exerted  power  over  male  bodies  and  souls  through  their 
mastery  of  sung  01  spoken  spells  invoking  the  help  of  the  Goddess. 
The  belief  was  not  wholly  illogical;  the  Goddess  was  Nature,  and 
Nature  caused  the  signs  of  sexual  attraction,  including  lovesick 
behavior  and  penile  erection,  that  made  a  man  feel  helplessly  subject  to 
unknown  forces. 

Therefore  everything  that  made  a  man  feel  attracted  to  a  woman 
came  to  be  synonymous  with  witchcraft:  charm,  enchantment,  be- 
witchment, spellbinding,  witchery,  moon-madness,  or  glamor — in  the 
old  sense  of  a  spell  cast  by  Morgan  of  "Glamorgan."  The  British 
Parliament  passed  an  odd  law  in  1 770  that  hinted  at  the  same  archetypal 
fears,  making  it  illegal  for  a  woman  to  "betray"  any  man  into 
matrimony  with  such  artificialities  as  false  hair,  iron  stays,  high-heeled 
shoes,  or  perfume.  If  a  husband  demonstrated  that  his  wife  had  used 
such  devices,  the  marriage  would  be  annulled,  and  the  woman  would 
"incur  the  penalty  of  the  law  now  enforced  against  witchcraft."2 

Women's  singing  was  also  highly  suspect,  as  this  was  the  classic 
method  of  casting  spells.  "Enchant"  came  from  incantare,  "to  sing 
over" — which  also  meant  incantation.3 

1.  Potter  &  Sargent,  49.  2.  Murstein,  227.  3.  Funk,  254. 


Classic  ferryman  of  the  Styx;  like  Hermes,  conductor  of  souls  to  the 
underworld.  The  dead  were  buried  with  coins  in  the  mouth  or  on  the 
eyelids  to  pay  Charon's  ferry.  The  Chinese  also  used  to  put  money  in 
graves,  for  crossing  the  river  of  death.  In  the  Balkans,  it  was  said  a 
woman  could  make  her  husband  "blind  as  a  corpse"  to  her  adultery, 
if  she  gave  him  water  that  had  washed  the  coins  from  a  corpse's  eyes.1 
Charon's  fee  was  Christianized  as  Peter's  Penny:  St.  Peter's  bribe  for 
opening  the  heavenly  gates.2  In  Greece,  Charon  found  a  new  Christian 
identity  as  St.  Charus,  escort  and  guardian  of  souls  in  the  "lower 
world,"  or  common  home  of  the  dead.3 

l.Frazer,FO.T.,35.  2.  Halliday,  50.  3.  Hyde,  206, 213. 

Chastity  Belt 

Medieval  device  for  locking  a  woman's  potential  lovers  out  of  her 
body,  while  her  husband  was  away  from  home  at  wars,  pilgrimages,  or 
crusades.  The  pelvic  fetter  had  small  spiked  holes  through  which 
urine,  feces,  and  menstrual  effluents  might  pass — in  theory.  In  practice; 


it  would  have  been  impossible  to  keep  clean.  Vaginal  infections,  skin  Chemosh 

eruptions,  and  ulcers  would  have  been  inevitable  after  wearing  such  a  Cherry 

device  for  only  a  short  time,  let  alone  months  or  years.  _^ 

In  1 889  the  skeleton  of  a  woman  was  found  in  a  1 5th-century  ™^^™^^^™ 
Austrian  graveyard,  still  wearing  the  chastity  belt  that  probably  caused 
her  death.1 



Hebrew  form  of  Shamash,  the  sun  god  of  Sippar  and  Moab, 
worshipped  in  the  temple  of  Solomon  (I  Kings  1 1:7).  Because  Che- 
mosh was  one  of  Yahweh's  rivals,  called  an  "abomination"  by  later 
priests  attempting  to  suppress  all  cults  but  their  own,  he  was  adopted 
into  the  still  later  Christian  pantheon  of  hell  as  a  demon.  He  was  a  fa- 
vorite of  exorcists,  who  commonly  claimed  to  have  purged  the  possessed 
of  the  demon  Chemosh. 


"Black  God"  of  the  Slavs,  adversary  of  the  White  God,  Byelobog; 
another  version  of  Ahriman  opposed  to  Ahura  Mazda,  or  the  Black 
Sun  beneath  the  earth  opposed  to  the  White  Sun  in  heaven.  Like 
other  versions  of  the  chthonian  deity,  Chernobog  was  a  Lord  of  Death, 
often  invoked  for  curses.  The  Ukrainians  still  say,  "May  the  Black 
God  exterminate  you!"  l  In  the  same  manner,  ancient  Persians  invoked 
Ahriman,  Chaldeans  invoked  Aciel,  Romans  invoked  Saturn,  and 
Christians  invoked  the  devil. 

1.  Lamusse,  283. 


Like  many  slang  expressions,  the  use  of  "cherry"  for  "virginity"  may 
be  traced  to  a  mythic  past.  Like  other  red  fruits,  such  as  the  apple  and 
pomegranate,  the  cherry  symbolized  the  Virgin  Goddess:  bearing  her 
sacred  blood  color  and  bearing  its  seed  within,  like  a  womb. 

Maya,  the  virgin  mother  of  Buddha,  embraced  the  cherry  tree  Sala 
while  giving  birth  to  her  divine  child.1  Some  said  the  tree  recognized 
her  divinity  and  bent  its  branches  down  to  offer  its  fruit.  The  story  was 
carried  to  Europe  and  spawned  the  medieval  Cherry  Tree  Carol,  in 
which  Maya  became  Mary. 

Gypsies  applied  the  love-magic  of  the  cherry  to  many  magic 
charms,  especially  those  associated  with  virginity.  When  a  gypsy  girl 
desired  to  attract  a  lover,  she  drilled  holes  through  fourteen  cherry 
stones  on  the  fourteen  nights  of  the  waxing  moon,  and  wore  them  on 


Cherub  a  cord  around  her  left  thigh  (the  "female"  side).2  The  obvious  elements 

Chimalman  of  this  magic  were  penetration  of  the  cherry,  and  building  up  to  the 

^^m mm m ^m ^m m mm      full  moon,  indicating  growth  or  pregnancy. 

French  traditions  of  courtly  love  perhaps  made  "cherry"  (cerise) 
synonymous  with  "beloved"  (cherie).  Cherry-red  was  often  consid- 
ered the  color  of  love. 

1.  Larousse,  348.  2.  Bowness,  22. 


Hebrew  kerubh,  the  Babylonian  totemic  animal  deities  combining 
eagle  wings,  lion  feet,  bull  heads,  and  serpent  tails — animal  symbols  of 
the  four  seasons,  cardinal  directions,  and  elements.  The  cherubim 
who  guarded  the  gates  of  Eden  and  the  throne  of  God  were  quite  unlike 
the  naked  winged  babies  that  romantic  and  baroque  art  later  called 
cherubs.  As  animal-masked  and  costumed  priests,  the  cherubim  proba- 
bly descended  from  Sheban  mu-karribim,  "close  kindred,"  guardians 
of  the  shrine  of  the  Moon-goddess  at  Marib. 


Mexican  Goddess  similar  to  Demeter,  called  Heart  of  the  Earth,  and 
ancestress  of  all  peoples.  No  god  could  equal  her  in  power.  She  was 
usually  accompanied  by  a  young  savior  son,  a  fertility-sacrifice.  Her 
angelic  messengers  were  seven  serpents.1 

1.  Neumann,  G.M.,  182. 


Tantric  Buddhist  concept  of  the  Center  of  the  Universe,  where  Shiva 
does  his  eternal  dance  of  life.  The  same  Center  was  a  mythic  model  of 
the  heart  as  the  center  of  the  body,  and  the  heartbeat  as  the  dance;  for 
Chidambaram  existed  "within  the  heart." '  The  heart  of  the  whole 
cosmos  was  the  same  as  the  Cave  of  the  Heart,  "where  the  true  self 
resides."2  This  was  another  expression  of  Oriental  belief  in  the  identity 
of  self  and  deity.  See  Antinomianism;  Heart. 
1.  Ross,  32.  2.  Menen,  70. 


Virgin  mother  of  the  Aztec  savior  Quetzalcoatl;  one  of  "three 
divine  sisters."  She  was  the  same  Triple  Goddess  worshipped  around 
the  world  in  Virgin,  Mother,  and  Crone  aspects.  See  Trinity. 


Chionia  Chionia 

"Snow  Queen,"  a  Greek  title  of  one  of  the  Horae;  an  untouchable  Christina,  Saint 

virgin  Goddess  of  the  high  mountains,  prototype  of  the  medieval  fairy,         ■MttMBMaMai 
Virginal  the  Ice  Queen.  She  was  also  canonized  as  a  Christian 
"virgin  martyr." 


"Goddess  Mother  of  the  Universe,"  the  real  name  of  the  world's 
highest  mountain,  which  westerners  renamed  Everest  after  a  man.  This 
masculine  name  was  bestowed  on  the  Goddess  Mother  in  1863  by 
foreign  invaders  who  preferred  to  attach  patriarchal  surnames  to 

1.  Encyc.  Brit,  "Everest,  Sir  George." 

Christina,  Saint 

Another  apocryphal  "virgin  martyr,"  whose  legend  was  constructed 
on  no  basis  whatever,  except  the  name,  meaning  "a  female  Christian." 
Her  story  was  one  of  those  sadistic  wonder-tales  in  which  Christian 
writers  delighted,  piling  torture  upon  torture  in  fantasies  that  quite  lost 
sight  of  the  natural  limitations  of  human  flesh. 

For  refusing  to  burn  incense  to  the  pagan  gods,  Christina  was 
locked  up  in  a  tower  by  her  father.  She  was  stripped  and  beaten  with 
rods,  then  torn  apart  by  hooks,  and  her  limbs  were  broken.  Nothing 
daunted,  she  took  up  pieces  of  her  own  flesh  and  threw  them  in  her 
father's  face,  saying,  "Take,  tyrant,  and  eat  the  flesh  thou  hast  begot- 
ten!" So  her  father  then  had  her  sprinkled  with  oil  and  roasted  on  a 
fire-wheel.  Then  she  was  thrown  into  the  sea  with  a  stone  around  her 
neck.  Angels  saved  her,  and  she  returned  to  her  father,  who  dropped 
dead  of  frustration. 

Christina's  torments  were  continued  by  a  judge  named  Elius,  who 
had  her  rocked  in  a  red-hot  iron  cradle.  Her  next  judge,  Julian,  threw 
her  into  a  burning  furnace,  where  she  walked  about  unbumed  for  five 
days.  Then,  poisonous  snakes  were  hung  about  her  neck.  Then,  her 
breasts  were  cut  off,  and  her  tongue  cut  out.  She  took  a  piece  of  her 
tongue  and  threw  it  at  Julian,  striking  him  in  the  eye  and  blinding 
him.  Finally,  Julian  killed  her  by  shooting  three  arrows  into  her.1  This 
can  only  have  been  a  magic  form  of  destruction,  for  Christina  had  by 
this  time  amply  demonstrated  her  invulnerability  to  every  ordinary 
method  of  execution. 

It  de  Voragine,  366-68. 


Christmas  Christmas 

For  its  first  three  centuries,  the  Christian  church  knew  no  birthday 
mttmmmmmmKmmm      for  its  savior.  During  the  4th  century  there  was  much  argument  about 
adoption  of  a  date.  Some  favored  the  popular  date  of  the  Koreion, 
when  the  divine  Virgin  gave  birth  to  the  new  Aeon  in  Alexandria.1  Now 
called  Twelfth  Night  or  Epiphany,  this  date  is  still  the  official  nativity 
in  Armenian  churches,  and  celebrated  with  more  pomp  than  Christmas 
by  the  Greek  Orthodox.2 

Roman  churchmen  tended  to  favor  the  Mithraic  winter-solstice 
festival  called  Dies  Natalis  Solis  Invictus,  Birthday  of  the  Uncon- 
quered  Sun.3  blended  with  the  Greek  sun-festival  of  the  Helia  by  the 
emperor  Aurelian,  this  December  25  nativity  also  honored  such  gods 
as  Attis,  Dionysus,  Osiris,  Syrian  Baal,  and  other  versions  of  the  solar 
Son  of  Man  who  bore  such  titles  as  Light  of  the  World,  Sun  of 
Righteousness,  and  Savior.4  Most  pagan  Mysteries  celebrated  the  birth 
of  the  Divine  Child  at  the  winter  solstice.  Norsemen  celebrated  the 
birthday  of  their  Lord,  Frey,  at  the  nadir  oi  the  sun  in  the  darkest  days  of 
winter,  known  to  them  as  Yule.  The  night  of  birth,  Christmas  Eve, 
was  called  Modranect,  Latin  matrum  noctem,  the  Night  of  the  Moth- 
er— originally  a  greater  festival  than  Christmas  Day.5 

Early  in  the  4th  century  the  Roman  church  adopted  December  25 
because  the  people  were  used  to  calling  it  a  god's  birthday.  But 
eastern  churches  refused  to  honor  it  until  375  a.d.6  The  fiction  that 
some  record  existed  in  the  land  of  Jesus's  alleged  birth  certainly  could 
not  be  upheld,  for  the  church  of  Jerusalem  continued  to  ignore  the 
official  date  until  the  7th  century.7 

Trappings  such  as  Yule  logs,  gifts,  lights,  mistletoe,  holly,  carols, 
feasts,  and  processions  were  altogether  pagan.  They  were  drawn  from 
worship  of  the  Goddess  as  mother  of  the  Divine  Child.  Christmas  trees 
evolved  from  the  pinea  silva,  pine  groves  attached  to  temples  of  the 
Great  Mother.  On  the  night  before  a  holy  day,  Roman  priests  called 
dendrophori  or  "tree-bearers"  cut  one  of  the  sacred  pines,  decorated 
it,  and  carried  it  into  the  temple  to  receive  the  effigy  of  Attis.8  Figures 
and  fetishes  attached  to  such  trees  in  later  centuries  seem  to  have 
represented  a  whole  pantheon  of  pagan  deities  on  the  World  Tree. 

Christmas  celebrations  remained  so  obviously  pagan  over  the  years 
that  many  churchmen  bitterly  denounced  their  "carnal  pomp  and 
jollity."  Polydor  Virgil  said:  "Dancing,  masques,  mummeries,  stage- 
plays,  and  other  such  Christmas  disorders  now  in  use  with  Christians, 
were  derived  from  these  Roman  Saturnalian  and  Bacchanalian  festivals; 
which  should  cause  all  pious  Christians  eternally  to  abominate 
them."9  Puritans  in  17th-century  Massachusetts  tried  to  ban  Christmas 
altogether  because  of  its  overt  heathenism.10  Inevitably,  the  attempt 

A  curious  mistake  in  the  Christmas  mystery  play  of  the  Towneley 
cycle  shows  a  Great  Mother  image  not  fully  assimilated  to  that  of 
Mary.  Before  their  attention  was  arrested  by  the  annunciatory  angel, 


idly  chatting  shepherds  complained  of  their  cruel  overlords,  and  Christos 

prayed  "Our  Lady"  to  curse  them.11  Considering  that  they  were  not 

acquainted  with  the  Mother  of  Christ,  a  rather  different  "Lady"  must  ^^^^_^_^^ 

have  been  intended. 

Among  many  other  superstitions  connected  with  Christmas  were 
some  that  were  typical  of  pagan  holy  days,  such  as  the  belief  that 
animals  could  speak  human  words  at  midnight  on  Christmas  Eve,  or 
that  divinatory  voices  could  be  heard  at  crossroads  at  the  same  time.12 
Also  at  midnight  on  Christmas  Eve,  water  in  wells  and  springs  was 
supposed  to  turn  into  blood,  or  its  sacramental  equivalent,  wine.  The 
miracle  was  not  to  be  verified,  however;  for  all  who  witnessed  it  would 
die  within  the  year.13 

1.  Campbell,  M.I.,  34.  2.  Miles,  22.  3.  Reinach,  282. 

4.  H.  Smith,  130;  Hyde,  92;  Miles,  23.  5.  Turville-Petre,  227. 

6.  Frazer,  G.B.,  416.  7.  Miles,  22.  8.  Vermaseren,  1 15.  9.  Hazlitt,  1 18-19. 

10.  de  Lys,  372.  11.  Miles,  135.  12.  Summers,  V,  157.  13.  Miles,  234. 


"Anointed  One,"  a  title  of  many  Middle-Eastern  sacrificial  gods — 
Attis,  Adonis,  Tammuz,  Osiris — derived  from  Oriental  cults  of  the 
sacred  marriage.  In  the  east,  the  god's  lingam  or  the  erect  penis  of  his 
statue  was  anointed  with  holy  oil  (Greek  chrism)  for  easier  penetration 
of  his  bride,  the  Goddess,  impersonated  by  one  of  the  temple  virgins.1 
Before  anointing  with  oil,  the  god's  phallus  was  often  reddened  to  the 
color  of  life  with  pigment,  wine,  or  blood — specifically,  the  menstru- 
al blood  of  his  bride.2  Because  kingship  once  depended  on  the  sacred 
marriage,  anointing  became  the  official  rite  of  investiture  for  surro- 
gate kings  as  well  as  real  kings.  It  carried  a  promise  of  godhood. 

The  words  of  the  psalmist,  "Thou  anointest  my  head  with  oil," 
evolved  from  the  ancient  custom  of  anointing  the  god-king's  penis, 
for  which  "head"  was  a  common  euphemism.  At  royal  weddings  the 
king's  head  was  crowned  with  a  wreath  of  flowers,  as  in  the  Hindu 
svayamara  ceremony — and  flowers,  in  biblical  language,  symbolized 
menstrual  blood  (Leviticus  15:24).  Among  the  pagans,  the  temple 
virgin  deflowering  herself  on  the  god's  carved  phallus  would  place  a 
wreath  of  flowers  on  his  head  at  the  same  time.3  Eventually  the 
anointing  of  the  phallus  was  displaced  to  the  head  because  the  marriage 
rite  was  omitted  from  public  sacrifices  of  the  Savior,  Redeemer,  Son 
of  God,  etc.  Like  the  New  Testament  Christ,  he  was  "anointed"  only 
for  his  burying:  the  marriage  with  the  earth  (John  12:7).  Jesus 
became  a  Christos  when  he  was  christ-ened  for  burial  by  Mary,  the 
magdalene  or  temple  maiden  (Matthew  26:12),  who  also  announced 
his  resurrection  (Mark  1 5:47). 

Among  the  Essenes,  a  Christos  was  a  priest,  specifically  designated 
Sin  Bearer  or  Redeemer:  one  who  atoned  for  others'  sins.4  Among 
the  Slavs,  Christos  or  Krstnik  meant  a  sacrificial  hero  and  also  an 


Chthonia  "accursed  one,"  due  to  the  ancient  practice  of  laying  a  formal  curse 

Circe  on  the  Sin  Bearer  before  he  was  sacrified.5  See  Firstborn;  Kingship. 

^^^^^^^^^^  1 .  Rawson,  E.A.,  29.  2.  G.R.  Scott,  1 87;  Edwardes,  50. 

^^^^^^^^^~  3.  Legman,  661.  4.  Pfeifer,  133.  5.  Leland,  145. 


"Subterranean,"  an  epithet  of  Black  Demeter,  Cybele,  and  other 
underground  forms  of  the  Goddess;  also  applied  to  gods  in  their  nether, 
dark,  Lord-of-Death  aspect,  e.g.  Zeus  Chthonios,  or  Chthonian 


The  fairy  tale  of  the  cinder-maid  originated  as  an  anti-ecclesiastical 
allegory  repeated  by  real  "fairies" — that  is,  pagans.  Ella  was  Hel,  or 
Helle,  daughter  of  Mother  Earth,  the  Goddess  with  her  regenerative 
fires  reduced  to  cinders.  Her  ugly  stepmother  was  the  new  church.  Her 
ugly  stepsisters  were  the  church's  darlings,  the  military  aristocracy  and 
the  clergy. 

An  early  German  version  of  the  story  said  Cinderella's  real  mother 
the  Earth,  though  dead,  sent  from  her  grave  a  fairy  tree  in  answer  to 
her  daughter's  prayer.  This  tree  produced  golden  apples,  fine  clothes, 
and  other  gifts.  Thus  the  "fairy  godmother"  of  later  versions  seems  to 
have  been  a  ghost  of  the  mother,  the  dispossessed  Great  Goddess  in 
retirement  underground.1 

Beautified  with  her  new  riches,  Cinderella  won  the  "prince" 
(mankind),  ever  easily  impressed  by  the  display  of  finery.  Their  union 
was  symbolized  by  fitting  her  foot  into  a  shoe,  a  common  sexual 
allegory.  The  Eleusinian  Mysteries  signified  sacred  marriage  by 
working  a  phallic  object  in  a  woman's  shoe.2  The  glass  slipper  perhaps 
stood  for  the  Crystal  Cave  by  which  pagan  heroes  entered  the  uterine 

Like  other  secret  medieval  prophecies  of  the  overthrow  of  the  rich, 
powerful  theocracy,  the  downfall  of  Cinderella's  ugly  stepmother  and 
stepsisters  may  have  been  intended  as  a  prophecy.3 

1.  Jung  &  von  Franz,  127.  2.  Graves,  CM.  1, 94.  3.  Tuchman,  41. 


Homeric  "witch"  able  to  transform  men  into  sacrificial  swine:  a 
mythic  picture  of  the  transition  from  human  to  porcine  sacrifices  during 
the  Hellenic  period.  Circe's  isle  of  Aeaea  was  a  funerary  shrine.  Its 
name  meant  "Wailing."  Circe  herself  was  the  death-bird  kirkos,  falcon. 
From  the  same  root  came  the  Latin  circus,  originally  an  enclosure  for 
funerary  games.1 



As  the  circle,  or  cirque,  Circe  was  identical  with  Omphale  of  Lydia  Circumcision 

with  her  cosmic  spinning  wheel:  a  fate-spinner,  weaver  of  the  Cleopatra  VII 

destinies  of  men.2  Homer  called  her  Circe  of  the  Braided  Tresses,  ^^__ 

hinting  that,  like  Oriental  goddesses,  she  manipulated  forces  of 
creation  and  destruction  by  the  knots  and  braids  in  her  hair.  She  ruled 
all  the  stars  that  determined  men's  fates.  Pliny  said  Circe  was  a 
Goddess  who  "commanded  all  the  lights  of  heaven."3 

1.  Lindsay,  O.A.,  239.  2.  Graves,  G.M.  2,  358.  3.  Hawkins,  139. 


Symbolic  version  of  the  sacrifice  of  virility  to  a  deity,  as  practiced  in 
Egypt,  Persia,  and  the  Middle  East.  Originally  an  imitation  of  menstrua- 
tion, performed  at  puberty  on  boys  who  were  dressed  up  as  girls  for 
the  occasion.1  Circumcision  came  to  be  regarded  as  a  sacrifice  pleasing 
to  a  male  deity,  when  it  was  viewed  as  a  substitute  for  castration. 


Clare,  Saint  var.  Saint  Claire 

Mythical  saint  constructed  from  the  title  of  the  Celtic  Goddess, 
Sinclair,  "Sacred  Light." '  The  original  form  remained,  as  a  popular 

1.  Hitching,  212. 

Cleopatra  VII 

One  of  the  last  Goddess-queens  of  Egypt,  Cleopatra  followed  the 
precedent  of  Egyptian  rulers  in  general  and  turned  herself  into  a 
divinity.  At  an  Alexandrian  festival  she  "assumed  the  robe  of  Isis  and 
was  addressed  as  the  New  Isis." ' 

Though  she  was  not  a  native  Egyptian,  but  one  of  the  Macedo- 
nian family  of  Ptolemies,  Cleopatra  exercised  the  ancient 
prerogatives  of  Egyptian  queens.  Julius  Caesar  became  her  lover  be- 
cause it  was  the  only  way  he  could  annex  Egypt  to  the  Roman 
provinces.  By  time-honored  law,  no  man  could  exercise  political  power 
in  Egypt  unless  he  loved  its  queen. 

Some  of  Cleopatra's  less  eminent  lovers  lasted  only  one  night  and 
paid  with  their  lives  for  a  single  taste  of  her  love.2  The  custom  seems 
to  have  been  adopted  by  later  male  rulers  of  Arabia,  to  judge  by  the 
gynocidal  sultan  of  the  Arabian  Nights.  The  thinking  behind  this 
custom  remains  mysterious.  It  may  be  that  men  who  lay  with  the  queen 
(and  therefore  with  the  Goddess  herself)  were  believed  to  gain 
immortality  thereby,  for  any  man  who  coupled  with  a  Goddess  would 
become  a  God.  Sacred  marriage,  followed  by  death  and  deification, 
formed  the  basic  pattern  of  many  ancient  Mysteries. 



When  her  son  Caesarion  was  born,  Cleopatra  built  herself  a 
mammisi  or  "birth  temple"  for  the  worship  of  her  own  maternity.  In 
the  shrine  she  was  pictured  in  the  act  of  giving  birth,  assisted  by  the 
Seven  Hathors.3  Cleopatra's  mammisi  stood  until  the  19th  century 
a.d.,  when  it  was  described  by  travelers,  but  it  disappeared  in  the  past 

She  also  gave  birth  to  the  sun  and  moon,  in  the  form  of  twins 
named  Alexander  Helios  and  Cleopatra  Selene — Alexander-Sun  and 
Cleopatra-Moon.5  Perhaps  these  children  represented  her  own  mating 
with  the  solar  god  of  Alexandria. 

1.  Lindsay,  O.A.,  132.  2.  Lederer,  323.  3.  Budge,  G.E.  I,  161. 
4.  Encyc.  Brit,  "Hermonthis."  5.  Encyc.  Brit,  "Cleopatra." 

Pausanias  Creek 
traveler  and  geographer 
of  the  2nd  century 
a.d.  Living  in  a  time  of 
declining  culture,  he 
was  inspired  by  a  desire 
to  describe  the 
ancient  sacred  sites  for 


From  Greek  kleitoris,  "divine,  famous,  goddess-like." l  Greek  myth 
personified  the  phallus  as  Priapus  and  the  clitoris  as  an  Amazon  queen 
named  Kleite,  ancestral  mother  of  the  Kleitae,  a  tribe  of  warrior 
women  who  founded  a  city  in  Italy.2  In  Corinth,  Kleite  was  a  princess 
"whom  Artemis  made  grow  tall  and  strong,"  an  allegory  of  her 
erection.3  Or,  again,  she  was  a  nymph  who  loved  the  phallus  of  the  sun 
god  and  always  followed  his  motion  with  her  "head" — a  transparently 
sexual  metaphor.4  In  a  bowdlerized  version  of  the  story  she  was 
transformed  into  a  sunflower,  turning  to  follow  the  motion  of  the  sun 
across  the  sky. 

Pausanias  said  the  Arcadian  city  of  Clitor  was  sacred  to  Artemis,  or 
to  Demeter,  and  stood  at  the  genital  shrine  of  the  earth,  the 
headwaters  of  the  Styx  (or  Alph).5  The  meaning  of  this  geographical 
myth  is  made  clear  by  the  primitive  belief  that  the  Styx  represented 
Mother  Earth's  menstrual  blood,  source  and  solvent  of  all  things.  In 
this  place,  too,  the  orgiastic  priestesses  of  Artemis  were  "soothed"  out 
of  their  frenzies;  therefore  the  local  omphalos  must  have  signified  the 
Goddess's  clitoris  instead  of  her  navel. 

Later  patriarchal  society  managed  to  ignore  the  clitoris.  Since  the 
Christian  church  taught  that  women  should  not  experience  sexual 
pleasure  but  should  only  endure  intercourse  for  the  sake  of  procreation, 
growing  girls  and  boys  alike  were  kept  ignorant  of  female  sexuality, 
insofar  as  possible.6  Even  physicians  came  to  believe  that  no  clitoris 
would  be  found  on  a  virtuous  woman. 

From  medieval  times  onward,  virtuous  women  rarely  showed 
themselves  naked  to  any  man,  even  a  husband;  so  it  was  perhaps  not 
surprising  that  men  should  remain  ignorant  of  the  female  anatomy  they 
clumsily  fumbled  with  in  the  dark.  Pious  married  couples  wore  the 
chemise  cagoule,  a  voluminous  nightgown  with  a  small  hole  in  front,  to 
allow  impregnation  with  a  minimum  of  body  contact.7 


At  a  witch  trial  in  1 593,  the  investigating  gaoler  (a  married  man)  Clitoris 

apparently  discovered  a  clitoris  for  the  first  time,  and  identified  it  as  a 

devil's  teat,  sure  proof  of  the  witch's  guilt.  It  was  "a  little  lump  of  flesh,         ^^^^^^^^^ 
in  manner  sticking  out  as  if  it  had  been  a  teat,  to  the  length  of  half  an 
inch,"  which  the  gaoler,  "perceiving  at  the  first  sight  thereof,  meant  not 
to  disclose,  because  it  was  adjoining  to  so  secret  a  place  which  was  not 
decent  to  be  seen;  yet  in  the  end,  not  willing  to  conceal  so  strange  a 
matter,"  he  showed  it  to  various  bystanders.8  The  bystanders  had 
never  seen  anything  like  it  either.  The  witch  was  convicted. 

European  society  certainly  knew  all  about  the  penis,  and  never 
ceased  to  worship  it,  evert  in  Christian  times  (see  Phallus  Worship). 
Yet  the  clitoris  was  forgotten: 

Almost  from  the  very  beginning  of  our  lives,  we  are  all  taught  that  the 
primary  male  sex  organ  is  the  penis,  and  the  primary  female  sex  organ 
is  the  vagina.  These  organs  are  supposed  to  define  the  sexes,  to  be  the 
difference  between  boys  and  girls ....  This  is  a  lie ... .  Woman 's 
sexual  pleasure  is  often  left  out  of  these  definitions.  If  people  considered 
that  the  purpose  of  the  female  sex  organs  is  to  bring  pleasure  to 
women,  then  female  sex  would  be  defined  by,  and  focused  on,  a  different 
organ.  Everyone  would  be  taught  from  infancy  that,  as  the  primary 
male  sex  organ  is  the  penis,  so  the  primary  female  sex  organ  is  the  clitoris. 9 

Medical  authorities  in  the  19th  century  seemed  anxious  to 
prevent  women  from  discovering  their  own  sexuality.  Girls  who  learned 
to  develop  orgasmic  capacity  by  masturbation,  just  as  boys  learned  it, 
were  regarded  as  medical  problems.  Often  they  were  "treated"  or 
"corrected"  by  amputation  or  cautery  of  the  clitoris,  or  "miniature 
chastity  belts,  sewing  the  vaginal  lips  together  to  put  the  clitoris  out  of 
reach,  and  even  castration  by  surgical  removal  of  the  ovaries.  But 
there  are  no  references  in  the  medical  literature  to  surgical  removal  of 
testicles  or  amputation  of  the  penis  to  stop  masturbation  (in  boys)." 10 

In  the  United  States,  the  last  recorded  clitoridectomy  for  curing 
masturbation  was  performed  in  1948 — on  a  five-year-old  girl.11 

The  Catholic  church's  definition  of  masturbation  as  "a  grave 
moral  disorder"  in  1976  may  have  incorporated  fears  of  the  effect  of 
masturbation  on  female  orgasmic  capacity,  now  well  known  to  evolve 
through  masturbatory  experience  the  same  as  that  of  a  male.12  Less 
than  a  century  ago,  in  the  Victorian  era,  priests  and  doctors  realized  that 
"the  total  repression  of  woman's  sexuality  was  crucial  to  ensure  her 
subjugation."  Leading  authorities  like  Dr.  Isaac  Brown  Baker  per- 
formed many  clitoridectomies  to  cure  women's  nervousness,  hysteria, 
catalepsy,  insanity,  female  dementia,  and  other  catchwords  for  symp- 
toms of  sexual  frustration.13 

I.  Young,  47.  2.  Bachofen,  283.  3.  Graves,  G.M.  2,  26.  4.  Hamilton,  291. 

5.  Graves,  W.G.,  405-6.  6.  Simons,  141.  7.  Sadock,  Kaplan  &  Freedman,  25. 
8.  Rosen,  296-97.  9.  Gornick  &  Moran,  292-93.  10.Gornick&Moran,293. 

I I.  Ehrenreich  &  English,  1 11.  12.  Newsweek,  Jan.  26, 1976.  13.  Nobile,  223-24. 


Clotho  Clotho 

Col  urn ba,  Saint 

"The  Spinner,"  first  of  the  Greek  Moerae  or  Fates;  She  Who  Spins 
the  Thread  of  Life.  The  same  name  was  applied  to  Isis  in  her  "terrible' 
aspect  as  a  creator-destroyer.1  Clotho's  thread  was  sometimes  golden, 
but  more  often  blood  red. 
1.  Neumann,  G.M.,  162. 


"Divine  Wooing,"  or  Sacred  Marriage;  the  last  matriarchal  queen  of 
Mycenae,  slain  by  her  son  Orestes,  a  worshipper  of  the  patriarchal  god 
Apollo.  Clytemnestra  claimed  a  queen's  traditional  right  to  choose 
her  consort,  and  have  each  new  one  slay  the  old  one.  Thus  she  arrangec 
to  have  her  husband  Agamemnon  slain  by  her  latest  lover,  Aegisthus, 
whose  name  means  Strong  Goat.1 

Aegisthus  had  the  right  mythic  prerequisites  for  a  sacred  king.  He 
was  born  of  an  incestuous  union.  His  mother  Pelopia  was  a  Goddess 
of  Clytemnestra's  clan,  the  Pelopids.  In  infancy  he  was  abandoned  to 
the  wild,  was  rescued,  and,  like  Zeus  himself,  was  nourished  by  a  she- 
goat.2  He  was  prepared  to  be  a  god  on  earth. 

Orestes  spoiled  it  by  killing  his  mother  and  her  lover,  calling  down 
on  himself  the  inexpiable  curse  of  miasma  for  his  matricide.  The 
Furies  pursued  him,  but  the  god  Apollo  defended  him,  on  the  ground 
that  motherhood  was  not  real  parenthood.  "The  mother  is  no  parent 
of  that  which  is  called  her  child,  but  only  nurse  of  the  new-planted  seed 
that  grows.  The  parent  is  he  who  mounts."3  This  Apollonian  view  of 
parenthood  was  also  the  Christian  view,  even  subsequent  to  1827  a.d. 
when  Karl  von  Baer  first  discovered  the  human  ovum,  gigantic  in 
size  and  complexity  as  compared  to  a  spermatozoon. 

1.  Graves,  G.M.  2, 377.  2.  Gaster,  224.  3.  Bachofen,  159. 


"Lady  of  the  Serpent  Skirt,"  mother  of  all  Aztec  deities  as  well  as  of 
the  sun,  the  moon,  and  the  stars.  She  produced  all  earthly  life,  and 
received  the  dead  back  again  into  her  body.  She  was  associated  with 
volcanic  mountains.  Like  Kali  she  wore  a  necklace  of  skulls,  and  a  skirt 
of  either  serpents  or  shorn  penises  of  her  castrated  savior-lovers.  Her 
daughter  Xochiquetzal,  the  Mexican  Aphrodite,  was  a  Goddess  of  All 

Columba,  Saint 

"Holy  Dove,"  a  spurious  canonization  of  Aphrodite  as  a  "maiden 
martyr"  Columba  of  Sens.1  Celtic  myth  called  her  Colombe,  the  yoni- 


maiden  mated  to  Lancelot  as  a  lightning  bolt,  the  'hallus  of  Heaven  2  Conscience 

See  Lightning.  Constantinel 

1.  Attwater,  92.  2.  Malory  1,  377. 


"Knowing-together,"  a  word  coined  by  Stoic  philosophers  who  said 
deity  is  found  only  within  the  human  mind.  Socrates's  famous  dictum 
"Know  thyself"  was  a  Stoic  aphorism  for  knowing  God.  Fusing 
divinity  with  self  produced  "conscience."  Thus  the  philosophers  said 
any  dictate  of  one's  own  conscience  was  inevitably  holy  and  right.1 
The  concept  grew  from  Oriental  teachings  about  the  identity  of  man 
with  God,  woman  with  Goddess.  See  Antinomianism. 
1.  Angus,  207-8. 

Constantine  I 

The  "first  Christian  emperor"  (288?-337),  honored  for  establishing 
Christianity  as  the  official  religion  of  the  Roman  empire.  Actually, 
Constantine  didn't  do  this  in  his  own  lifetime;  his  bishops  did  it 
afterward.  Constantine  was  not  so  much  a  worshipper  of  Christ  as  he 
was  a  worshipper  of  himself. 

Constantine  considered  himself  the  incarnation  of  "the  supreme 
god,"  a  combination  of  Apollo,  Mithra,  Jupiter,  the  sun,  and  Christ. 
He  called  himself  "the  instrument  of  the  Deity."  He  said,  "I  banished 
and  utterly  abolished  every  form  of  evil  then  prevailing,  in  the  hope 
that  the  human  race,  enlightened  through  me,  might  be  called  to  a 
proper  observance  of  God's  holy  laws."  He  designated  for  his  tomb  a 
spot  in  the  center  of  the  cruciform  Church  of  the  Holy  Apostles,  saying 
he  would  lie  forever  with  six  apostles  at  his  left  hand  and  six  at  his 
right.  A  contemporary  historian  said  Constantine  was  "more  greedy  for 
praise  than  it  is  possible  to  tell." ' 

He  supported  freedom  of  worship  in  his  empire  for  the  wrong 
reason:  so  that  no  god  would  be  offended  enough  to  take  revenge  on 
him  personally.  He  issued  edicts  of  toleration  for  all  religions,  so  that 
"we  should  give  to  Christians  and  to  everyone  else  the  right  freely  to 
follow  whatever  religion  they  chose,  so  that,  whatever  divinity  is 
enthroned  in  heaven  may  be  well-disposed  and  propitious  towards 
me."  He  tried  to  restrain  Christian  fanatics  from  persecuting  pagans, 
Jews,  and  heretics,  writing  in  an  encyclical  letter  to  Bishop  Eusebius 
of  Nicomedia  that  these  others  must  be  "assured  of  the  same  degree  of 
peace  and  tranquility"  as  orthodox  Christians.2  The  orthodox  Chris- 
tians did  not  agree,  and  soon  after  Constantine's  death  they  instituted 
extensive  persecutions  and  crusades  extending  over  the  next  three 


Constantine  I  Constantine  did  his  best  for  the  church.  In  one  year  he  obtained 

twelve  thousand  converts  by  the  simple  offer  of  a  new  garment  and 
^ mm ^^^^^^m      twenty  gold  pieces  to  each  person  who  embraced  the  faith.3  But  he  did 
as  much  for  other  cults  too.  He  didn't  become  a  Christian  himself 
until  the  final  weeks  of  his  life,  when  he  accepted  baptism  on  his 
deathbed,  as  insurance  for  his  after-life. 

Constantine's  life  was  hardly  a  model  of  piety.  He  murdered  his 
eldest  son,  his  second  wife,  his  father-in-law,  his  brother-in-law,  and 
"many  others,"  a  chronicler  said.  His  first  wife,  Minervina— evidently  a 
priestess  of  the  Moon-goddess  Minerva — mysteriously  disappeared. 
No  one  knows  what  became  of  her.  His  second  wife  Fausta  was  his 
stepping-stone  to  the  throne,  according  to  the  ancient  rule  of  the 
hieros  gamos.  Eulogists  at  the  wedding  said,  "The  title  of  sovereignty 
has  now  accrued  to  thee,  O  Constantine,  through  thy  father-in- 
law."4  There  being  no  law  of  primogeniture,  the  throne  still  passed 
through  the  female  line. 

To  eliminate  a  potential  rival,  Constantine  killed  his  eldest  son 
Crispus,  born  of  the  vanished  Minervina.  Afterward  he  accused 
Fausta  of  having  had  a  love  affair  with  her  now-deceased  stepson,  along 
with  other  adulterous  affairs,  and  killed  her;  it  seems  that  any  lover 
the  empress  took  was  still  a  threat  to  the  emperor's  political  position.5 

The  murdered  Crispus  might  have  played  the  role  of  savior  and 
sacred  king,  for  after  his  death  he  was  virtually  canonized  as  a 
"blessed  martyr."  Churches  in  Greece  were  dedicated  to  him  for  over  a 
millenium.  "During  the  period  of  the  Turkish  occupation  of  Greece, 
over  a  thousand  years  later,  he  was  still  remembered  as  the  Caesar,  the 
hero-prince,  the  Christian  Theseus,  as  it  were,  founder  of  the 
modern  Greek  nation."6  Yet  Crispus  was  neither  a  Caesar  nor  a 

Christian  bishops  eventually  convinced  Constantine  that  their  God 
would  forgive  his  crimes  and  enthrone  him  in  heaven.  When  he  felt 
death  approaching,  he  said  to  them:  "The  salvation  which  I  have 
earnestly  desired  of  God  these  many  years  I  do  now  expect.  It  is  time 
therefore  that  we  should  be  sealed  and  signed  in  the  badge  of  immortal- 
ity."7 So  he  was  baptized,  and  died  in  the  confident  expectation  of  a 
glorious  resurrection. 

His  literary  whitewashing  began  at  once.  Despite  his  two  wives  and 
numerous  concubines,  Christian  panegyrists  said  he  was  "wedded  to 
chastity."8  Eusebius  elevated  all  the  emperor's  doings  into  acts  of  piety, 
and  invented  the  legend  that  Christ  had  converted  him  with  a  holy 
vision  at  the  Milvian  bridge.  Later  Christian  legend  claimed  Constan- 
tine saw  the  sign  of  the  cross  in  the  sky,  with  the  words  in  hoc  signo 
vinces  (in  this  sign  conquer).  However,  the  holy  sign  that  Constantine 
placed  on  his  battle  flags  was  not  the  cross.  It  was  the  labarum,  a 
monogram  of  Mithra  and  a  sign  of  the  sun,  already  in  use  by  several 
pagan  emperors  before  Constantine.9 

As  an  example  of  Constantine's  Christian  mercy,  Cedrenus  re- 


corded  that  once  when  he  was  ill,  he  collected  a  number  of  children  Convent 

to  kill  them  and  bathe  in  their  blood  as  a  healing  charm.  However, 

moved  by  their  mothers'  tears,  the  emperor  spared  the  children's  lives  ^^^^^__^^_ 

after  all,  and  "the  saints"  restored  his  health  as  a  reward  for  this  act  of 

mercy.10  No  one  seemed  inclined  to  criticize  him  for  contemplating 

the  massacre  in  the  first  place. 

Constantine's  luminous  example  showed  that  Christian  magic 
could  prevent  port-mortem  punishment  for  a  ruthless  life.  "Future 
tyrants  were  encouraged  to  believe,"  says  Gibbon,  "that  the  innocent 
blood  which  they  might  shed  in  a  long  reign  would  instantly  be 
washed  away  in  the  waters  of  regeneration;  and  the  abuse  of  religion 
dangerously  undermined  the  foundations  of  moral  virtue."  n 

Christianity  served  all  the  emperors  after  him,  with  the  sole 
exception  of  Julian  "the  Apostate,"  much  vilified  by  the  church  for 
suspending  the  persecutions  of  pagans  and  trying  to  restore  the  culture 
of  classical  Rome.  But  Julian  died  young;  some  said  he  was  assassinat- 
ed by  a  Christian.12  The  war  against  paganism  proceeded.  Beginning 
about  330  a.d.,  pagan  shrines  were  looted  and  stripped  of  their  gold, 
silver,  and  bronze  treasures,  many  of  which  were  carried  off  to  decorate 
Constantine's  greatest  monument  to  himself,  the  city  of  Constantino- 
ple.1?  As  Eusebius  gleefully  described  the  process:  "The  lurking-places 
of  the  heretics  were  broken  up  . . .  and  the  savage  beasts  which  they 
harbored  were  put  to  flight."  H 

Constantine's  edicts  of  toleration  were  rescinded  after  his  death. 
The  new  imperial  religion  attacked  its  rivals  in  a  show  of  intolerance 
on  a  grander  scale  than  had  ever  been  seen  before.  It  was  a  great 
success.  "Forty  years  after  the  death  of  Constantine,  the  church  had 
already  acquired  a  tenth  of  the  whole  of  the  landed  property  in  Rome's 
western  empire,  a  figure  that  in  western  Europe  rose  to  a  third  during 
the  middle  ages. . . .  The  church  since  the  time  of  Constantine  affords 
proof  that  it  is  not  spiritual  truth  that  has  triumphed  with  the  spread  of 
Christianity  but  human  power." 15 

I.  J.H.  Smith,  C.G.,  182, 235-36, 262.  2.  Ibid.,  123, 183.  3.  Gibbon  1, 654-55. 
4.J.H.Smith,C.G.,27,71.  5.  Ibid.,  210.  6.  Ibid.,  215-16.  7.Doane,446. 

8.  J.H.  Smith,  C.G,  39.  9.  Encyc.  Brit,  "Flag."  10.  Leland,  240. 

I I .  Gibbon  1 ,  654.  1 2.  de  Voragine,  131.  1 3.  J.H.  Smith,  C.G,  232. 
14.Legge2,220.  15.  Augstein,  299. 


Medieval  institution  evolved  from  the  pagan  "college"  of  priestesses 
or  virgines— that  is,  unmarried  women  (not  necessarily  physical  virgins) 
dedicated  to  divine  service. 

Early  convents  were  double:  a  community  of  male  monks  united 
with  female  priestesses  under  the  rule  of  an  abbess,  usually  a 
landowning  noblewoman.1  "Priests  and  monks  together  with  the  nuns 
took  vows  of  obedience  to  the  abbess  in  imitation  of  the  obedience  of 
Jesus  to  his  mother."  A  10th-century  Saxon  chronicle  speaks  of  double 


Convent  convents  inhabited  by  "priests  of  both  sexes,"  although  in  a  transla- 

tion it  was  revised  to  read,  "priests  of  both  orders."2 
m^^^^^^^^^^m  As  Christian  laws  encroached  on  women's  property  rights,  many 

women  of  noble  rank  took  vows  to  remain  single,  so  as  to  protect 
their  wealth  from  the  claims  of  husbands.  Thus  originated  the  so-called 
convent  of  noble  ladies,  an  independent  mini-queendom.  For  exam- 
ple, the  Saxon  convent  of  Gandersheim  in  the  9th  century  held 
overlordship  directly  from  the  king.  The  abbess  conducted  her  own 
courts  of  law,  kept  her  own  seat  in  the  imperial  parliament,  and 
maintained  her  own  standing  army.3  Culture  and  learning  were 
pursued.  This  convent  trained  the  poetess  Hrotswitha  of  Gandersheim, 
called  "a  Sappho,  deserving  to  rank  with  the  fabled  Veleda  and 
Aurinia,  ancient  German  poet-priestesses."4 

In  the  7th  century,  a  papal  bull  confirmed  the  rights  of  freedom 
from  taxation  and  from  episcopal  jurisdiction  of  the  Parthenon  of 
Beatae  Mariae  et  Sanctae  Columbae  et  Agathae  (Virgin-house  of 
Blessed  Marys  and  Holy  Doves  and  Kindly  Ones).  Abbesses  of  Las 
Huelgas  ruled  sixty  towns,  had  the  right  to  license  bishops  and  priests 
within  their  dioceses,  to  confer  benefices  on  clergy  of  their  own 
choice,  to  nominate  ecclesiastical  judges,  to  hear  criminal  cases  among 
their  subjects,  and  to  establish  new  parishes.  Bishops  and  apostolic 
delegates  were  forbidden  to  visit  churches,  parishes,  clergy,  or  beneficia- 
ries in  the  abbess's  territory.  The  nuns  remained  exempt  from 
episcopal  jurisdiction  all  the  way  up  to  1874.5 

Ancient  goddess-queens  were  described  as  "abbesses"  in  Christian 
histories,  to  disguise  the  real  nature  of  the  pagan  matriarchate  that 
backed  them.  Such  a  one  was  St.  Odilia  or  Ottilia,  called  the  abbess  of 
Odilienberg  (Hohenburg),  a  pilgrimage  shrine  of  Alsace  that  was  her 
own  Holy  Mountain.6  Her  legend  had  no  documentary  basis.7  She  was 
fraudulently  canonized,  only  to  attract  her  votaries  to  Christianity. 

Many  abbesses  retained  their  pagan  title  of  High  Priestess — 
Sacerdos  Maxima — especially  in  the  German  convents.  At  Quedlin- 
burg  the  abbess  was  "in  control  of  the  whole  town,  its  people,  churches, 
hospitals,  clergy,  canons  and  canonesses,  and  all  religious  orders." 
She  was  not  only  High  Priestess,  but  also  Superior  Canoness  of  the 
Cathedral,  Metropolitana  (mayor),  and  Matricia  (matriarch).  At  St. 
Mary's  Uberwasser  in  Munster,  the  abbess's  title  was  Prima  domna  et 
matre  nostra  spirituale,  "Mistress-Leader  and  Our  Spiritual  Mother." 
Cistercian  monks  at  Las  Huelgas  swore  obedience  to  the  abbess  as  "the 
Illustrious  Lady  ...  my  Prelate,  and  my  Lady,  Superior,  Mother  and 
legitimate  administrator  in  spiritual  and  temporal  affairs  of  the  Royal 
Monastery  and  its  Hospital."8 

Some  centuries  earlier,  the  Latin  title  of  Sacerdos  Maxima  meant  a 
high  priestess  of  the  Great  Mother  of  the  Gods.  She  was  assisted  by 
lesser  priestesses  known  as  ministra,  "ministers."  The  word  "sodality" 
came  from  Latin  sodales,  a  college  of  dancing  priestesses  trained  in 
the  Great  Mother's  temple.9 


That  women  in  convents  long  retained  the  sexual  freedom  of  the  Convent 

ancient  priestesses  is  shown  by  interchangeable  use  of  the  words 

"convent"  and  "brothel"  in  medieval  times.  Nicholas  Clemangis  said  ^^^^^^-^^ 

the  monasteries  were  not  so  much  sanctuaries  of  God  as  they  were 
"abodes  of  Venus." 10 

The  word  nun  originally  meant  a  nurse,  that  is,  a  priestess  of  a 
healing  shrine,  like  the  "nymphs"  in  colleges  of  Hygeia  and  Panacea 
in  pagan  Greece.  That  the  convents  continued  to  function  as  hospitals 
is  suggested  by  medieval  romances:  wounded,  sick,  or  dying  folk  were 
usually  cared  for  by  "nuns."  n  The  word  also  meant  a  virgin  mother  in 
Germanic  paganism.  A  cognate  was  Nana,  virgin  mother  of  the  god 

Sometimes,  pagan  queens  established  convents  in  order  to  have 
themselves  canonized,  just  as  Roman  emperors  were  made  gods  by 
virtue  of  their  religious  leadership.  The  canon  of  saints  includes  several 
pagan  queens  whose  only  claim  to  beatitude  was  wealth,  which 
bought  the  jurisdiction  of  an  abbey  and  its  subject  lands.  Some  of  the 
queen-saints  were  even  distinctly  hostile  to  churchmen,  like  Queen 
Bathild,  foundress  of  a  druidic  convent  at  Chelles  in  the  7th  century. 
She  was  the  real  ruler  of  the  western  Franks,  having  placed  her  son 
Chlotar  on  the  throne.  Certain  bishops  who  tried  to  interfere  with  her 
were  assassinated.  In  the  end  she  was  "unceremoniously"  removed 
from  power  by  Christian  nobles,  and  apparently  murdered  as  a  heretic, 
though  her  subjects  maintained  her  cult  and  called  her  Saint 

In  Bede's  time,  Queen  Ethelreda  was  ordained  High  Priestess  of 
Ely,  and  was  succeeded  by  other  supreme  abbesses  governing  the 
monastery's  beatarum  regimine  feminarum  (holy  order  of  women)  up 
to  the  Danish  invasion  in  866.  The  abbey  of  Wherwell  was  founded 
by  Queen  Elfrida  in  986;  it  was  exempt  from  earthly  services,  and  held 
many  territories  and  churches.13 

Another  pagan  princess  who  founded  a  convent  in  the  7th  century 
and  was  canonized,  was  St.  Wereburg  of  the  royal  house  of  Mercia, 
ruler  of  the  city  of  Chester.  Her  establishment  was  specifically  for 
"noble  women"  refusing  to  give  up  their  property  to  husbands.  St. 
Wereburg  was  canonized  centuries  later,  on  the  strength  of  a  legend 
that  her  holy  bones  had  extinguished  the  fires  set  in  the  city  of 
Chester  by  marauding  Danes.14 

St.  Hild,  or  Hilda,  of  the  royal  house  of  Northumberland,  estab- 
lished one  of  the  most  famous  double  monasteries  of  Anglo-Saxon 
times  at  Hartlepool,  the  "Isle  of  Stags."  Her  influence  extended  over  all 
England.  She  created  bishops  and  abbots,  favoring  especially  the 
poet-missionaries  of  Celtic  background.  Bede  said  "all  who  knew  her 
called  her  Mother." 15  Since  she  bore  the  name  of  the  pagan  Great 
Mother  Hild,  or  Hel,  one  might  wonder  about  the  real  basis  of  her 
authority,  in  a  century  when  a  majority  of  people  had  not  yet  heard  of 


Convent  Even  when  convents  became  Christianized,  abbesses  were  still 

ordained  like  bishops,  and  in  some  areas  held  more  secular  power  than 

—^^^^Bi^^^^M      bishops,  though  church  histories  have  tried  to  conceal  this,  sometimes 
through  deliberate  falsification  of  the  records.  For  instance,  a  papal  bull 
said  the  abbess  of  the  Cassian  foundation  in  Marseilles  was  "or- 
dained"; a  later  editor  changed  the  word  to  "blessed."  At  Jouarre, 
Quedlinburg,  Conversano,  and  other  places,  an  abbess  held  supreme 
jurisdiction  over  both  clergy  and  laity  in  her  territory.  According  to  the 
Rule  of  St.  Donatus,  abbesses  functioning  as  Matris  Spirituale  (Spiri- 
tual Mother)  regularly  heard  confessions.  French  ecclesiastical  records 
say  abbesses  gave  absolution  by  imposition  of  their  hands  on  the 
heads  of  men.17 

The  church  began  to  encroach  on  the  rights  of  convents  in  the 
12th  and  13th  centuries,  devising  ways  to  appropriate  the  nuns' 
property  and  make  them  subject  to  male  clergy.  At  Fontevrault, 
canonesses  preceded  the  monks  in  processions,  carried  the  pastoral 
cross,  preached,  read  the  Gospel,  and  heard  confessions.  Pope  Innocent 
III  deprived  them  of  these  privileges.  Disagreements  arose  between 
male  and  female  clergy.  Monks  insisted  they  would  no  longer  genuflect 
every  time  they  passed  the  abbess.  Nuns  reacted  by  refusing  to  kneel 
in  the  confessional  before  their  brothers.  Innocent  III  also  commanded 
the  abbess  of  Jouarre,  her  clergy,  and  her  layfolk  to  subject  them- 
selves to  the  authority  of  the  bishop  of  Meaux.  When  the  abbess  asked 
for  time  to  prove  her  right  to  independence,  she  and  all  her 
community  were  excommunicated.  Decrees  of  the  Council  of  Trent 
changed  church  laws  to  say  women's  orders  must  be  taken  over  and 
supervised  by  men's  orders.18 

Considerable  bitterness  accompanied  sexual  segregation  of  the 
double  convents,  judging  from  the  letter  of  Abbot  Conrad  of  March- 
tal,  on  barring  women  from  his  order: 

We  and  our  whole  community  of  canons,  recognizing  that  the  wickedness 
of  women  is  greater  than  all  other  wickedness  of  the  world,  and  there  is 
no  anger  like  that  of  women,  and  that  the  poison  of  asps  and  dragons  is 
more  curable  and  less  dangerous  for  men  than  the  familiarity  of 
women,  have  unanimously  decreed  for  the  safety  of  our  souls,  no  less  than 
for  that  of  our  bodies  and  goods,  that  we  will  on  no  account  receive  any 
more  sisters  to  the  increase  of  our  perdition,  but  will  avoid  them  like 
poisonous  animals. ,9 

Convents  had  been  centers  of  higher  learning  for  women  in  an 
age  when  women  were  forbidden  access  to  schools  and  universities. 
Earlier  in  the  medieval  period,  girls  as  well  as  boys  attended  ecclesias- 
tical schools  in  Ireland  and  learned  to  read  and  write;  but  this  practice 
was  later  forbidden,  the  schools  being  kept  only  for  males.20  Premon- 
stratensian  and  Cistercian  orders  were  famed  as  educators  of  women, 
until  the  Council  of  Trent  ruled  that  women's  orders  must  be  taken 
over  by  men's  orders.21  Then  Cistercian  nuns  were  forbidden  to 
establish  any  more  teaching  convents.22 

Nuns  were  further  commanded  not  to  teach  or  discuss  theological 


matters.  This  was  used  as  a  device  for  outlawing  their  orders  and  Convent 

confiscating  their  property.  It  served  as  an  excuse  for  the  Council  of 

Vienne  to  deprive  the  teaching  nuns  called  Beguines  of  their  lands  

and  houses,  in  1 3 1 2  when  monks  of  the  Inquisition  demanded  them: 

We  have  been  told  that  certain  women  commonly  called  Beguines, 
afflicted  by  a  kind  of  madness,  discuss  the  Holy  Trinity  and  the  divine 
essence,  and  express  opinions  on  matters  of  faith  and  sacraments. 
Since  these  women  promise  no  obedience  to  anyone  and  do  not 
renounce  their  property  or  profess  an  approved  Rule . . .  fw]e  have  there- 
fore decided  and  declared  with  the  approval  of  the  Council  that  their 
way  of  life  is  to  be  permanently  forbidden  and  altogether  excluded  from 
the  Church  of  God.2* 

The  Beguines  were  forced  to  integrate  into  orders  approved  by 
the  pope,  where  they  would  receive  no  education.  Their  properties 
were  taken  over  by  the  Inquisition  to  provide  dwellings  and  prisons 
for  the  inquisitors'  use.24 

From  the  1 2th  century  on,  there  was  increasing  pressure  on 
convents  to  adopt  rules  of  close  confinement,  to  keep  nuns  segregat- 
ed from  the  outside  world.  The  canonesses  of  St.  Mary's  Uberwasser 
rebelled  three  times  against  the  imposition  of  the  Benedictine  Rule, 
which  would  force  them  into  seclusion.25  Many  convents  were  threat- 
ened with  excommunication,  dissolution,  or  even  prosecution  by  the 
Inquisition  to  force  them  to  accept  strict  seclusion  and  to  cease  develop- 
ing the  sisters'  minds. 

Early  in  the  17th  century,  teacher  Mary  Ward  tried  to  found  a 
Catholic  order  of  teaching  nuns  known  as  the  English  Ladies,  to 
provide  education  for  girls.  She  and  her  sisters  refused  to  submit  to  the 
cloister,  so  Mary  was  arrested  and  accused  of  heresy.  Her  order  was 
suppressed  in  1629.  Pope  Urban  VIII  rebuked  them:  "Certain  women, 
taking  the  name  of  Jesuitesses,  assembled  and  living  together,  built 
colleges,  and  appointed  superiors  and  a  General,  assumed  a  peculiar 
habit  without  the  approbation  of  the  Holy  See  . . .  carried  out  works 
by  no  means  suiting  the  weakness  of  their  sex,  womanly  modesty, 
virginal  purity."26  With  typically  patriarchal  reasoning,  the  English 
Ladies  were  punished  for  doing  what  women  were  supposed  to  be 
unable  to  do. 

A  few  convents  managed  to  hold  on  to  their  pre-patriarchal 
independence.  The  clergy  failed  to  turn  out  the  canonesses  of  St. 
Waudru,  at  Mons.  Monks  of  Fontevrault  likewise  failed  to  take  over  the 
main  church  or  the  nuns'  house,  and  were  obliged  to  continue  to  vow 
obedience  to  the  abbesses,  up  to  the  French  Revolution.27 

1.  Encyc.  Brit.,  "Women  in  Religious  Orders."  2.  Morris,  45,  132. 

3.  Bullough,  158.  4.  Borchardt,  107.  5.  Morris,  18, 85-86.  6.  Gifford,  133. 

7.  Attwater,  257.  8.  Morris,  58-65, 89.  9.  Vermaseren,  57, 109. 

1 0.  Sadock,  Kaplan  &  Freedman,  24.  11.  Funk,  28 1 .  12.  Attwater,  60. 

13.  Morris,  25-26.  14.  Brewster,  93.  1 5.  Attwater,  170. 

16.  Brewster,  490;  Encyc.  Brit,  "Hilda."  17.  Morris,  19,  71,  142. 

18.  Morris,  48, 76,  37, 149.  19.  Bullough,  160.  20.  Joyce  1, 410.  21.  Morris,  157. 

22.  Bullough,  191.  23.  Bullough,  163.  24.  Lea,  226.  25.  Morris,  29. 

26.  Bullough,  208.  27.  Morris,  149. 


Cornelius,  Saint  Cornelius,  Saint 


"Horned  One,"  fictitious  saint  said  to  have  given  curative  magic  to 
the  site  of  Mont  St.  Michel.  Its  counterpart  across  the  English  Channel 
St.  Michael's  Mount,  was  a  shrine  of  the  legendary  Trojan  hero 
Corineus,  first  ruler  of  Cornwall.  His  Breton  name  was  Cornelius.1  He 
may  have  been  derived  from  the  Horned  God,  Cernunnos.  Corineus 
was  said  to  have  conquered  the  last  of  the  giants,  Goemagot  (Gog- 
Magog),  and  thrown  him  into  the  Channel. 
1.  Pepper  &Wilcock,  193,203. 

Corona,  Saint 

Spurious  canonization  of  the  phrase  sancta  corona,  Divine  Crown, 
an  early  Christian  term  for  martyrdom;  perhaps  confused  with  the 
Goddess  Coronis,  virgin  mother  of  the  physician-god  Asclepius. 

var.  Cottyto,  CotyS 


Thracian  Moon-goddess  whose  son,  the  giant  Cottus  of  the  Hundred 
Hands,  stood  for  her  collegium  of  fifty  priests  or  priestesses.1  Theocritu 
called  her  "the  crone,  Cottytaris,  that  piped  of  yore  to  the  reapers  in 
Hippocoon's  field."2  Since  Christians  vilified  her  Edonian  rites  as  devil 
worship,  she  was  listed  as  one  of  the  demons  in  medieval  texts  on 

1.  Graves,  CM.  1,  32, 108.  2.  Halliday,  36. 


"Mother  of  Covens,"  a  popular  name  for  the  Celtic  Goddess  as 
patron  of  healing  wells  and  springs.1  A  coven  of  thirteen  was  said  to 
represent  the  thirteen  lunar  months.  The  word  may  have  come  from 
Moorish-Spanish-Basque  kaftan,  a  ceremonial  robe  worn  at  sacred 
dances  performed  in  groups  of  thirteen.2  Naturally,  during  witch 
persecutions  the  name  Coventina  was  applied  to  all  forms  of  the 

1.  Phillips,  1 12.  2.  Ravensdale  &  Morgan,  153. 


Perhaps  the  most  common  manifestation  of  the  Great  Mother  as 
Preserver  was  the  white,  horned,  milk-giving  Moon-cow,  still  sacred  in 
India  as  a  symbol  of  Kali.  Egypt  revered  Mother  Hathor  as  the 
heavenly  cow  whose  udder  produced  the  Milky  Way,  whose  body  was 


the  firmament,  and  who  daily  gave  birth  to  the  sun,  Horus-Ra,  her 
Golden  Calf,  the  same  deity  worshipped  by  Aaron  and  the  Israelites: 
"These  be  thy  gods,  O  Israel,  which  brought  thee  up  out  of  the  land 
of  Egypt"  (Exodus  32:4). 

The  name  of  Italy  meant  "calf-land." !  This  country  too  was  the 
gift  of  the  Milk-giver,  whom  Etruscans  called  Lat,  Arabs  called  Al- 
Lat,  Greeks  called  Latona,  Lada,  Leto,  or  Leda.  She  ruled  Latium,  and 
gave  her  milk  (Jatte)  to  the  world. 

All  Europe  was  named  after  the  Goddess  as  a  white  Moon-cow, 
whom  the  Greeks  mated  to  the  white  bull  incarnation  of  Zeus.  Her 
alternative  name  was  Io,  "Moon."  Under  this  name  she  was  presented 
in  classic  mythology  as  a  rival  of  Hera,  but  patriarchal  writers  were 
always  setting  different  manifestations  of  the  same  Goddess  at  odds  with 
one  another,  possibly  on  the  principle  of  divide  and  conquer.  Hera 
herself  was  named  Io,  ancestress  of  the  Ionians.  In  her  temple  on  the 
site  of  Byzantium  she  appeared  as  the  same  lunar  cow,  the  Horned 
One,  wearing  the  same  crescent  headdress  as  the  Egyptian  Cow- 

The  Cow  as  creatress  was  equally  prominent  in  myths  of  northern 
Europe,  where  she  was  named  Audumla;  she  was  also  Freya,  or  a 
Valkyrie  taking  the  form  of  a  "fierce  cow."6  A  semi-patriarchal  Norse 
myth  tried  to  attribute  the  creation  of  the  world  to  the  giant  Ymir, 
whose  body  and  blood  made  the  universe.  But  he  was  not  the  first  of 
creatures.  The  Cow  preceded  him,  for  he  lived  on  her  milk.7 

Earlier  myths  showed  the  universe  being  "curdled"  into  shape 
from  the  Cow's  milk.  In  India,  many  still  believe  literally  the  creation 
myth  known  as  Churning  of  the  Sea  of  Milk.8  The  Japanese  version 
said  the  primordial  deep  went  "curdlecurdle"  (koworokoworo)  when 
stirred  by  the  first  deities,  to  make  clumps  of  land.9  The  ancient  Near 
East  thought  human  bodies  too  were  curdled  from  the  Goddess's 
milk.  One  of  her  liturgies  was  copied  into  the  Bible:  "Has  thou  not 
poured  me  out  as  milk,  and  curdled  me  like  cheese?"  (Job  10:10). 

The  root  of  "cow"  was  Sanskrit  Gau,  Egyptian  kau  or  kau-t. 
Goddess-names  like  Gauri  and  Kauri  also  designated  the  yonic 
cowrie  shell.10  Brahman  rebirth  ceremonies  used  either  a  huge  golden 
yoni  or  an  image  of  the  Cow-mother.  "When  a  man  has  for  grave 
cause  been  expelled  from  his  caste,  he  may  be  restored  to  it  after  passing 
several  times  under  the  belly  of  a  cow."  u  The  Egyptian  Goddess  as 
birth-giver  typically  wore  a  cow's  head  or  horns,  as  she  offered  her 
breasts  with  both  hands.12  As  the  nursing  mother  who  gave  each 
Egyptian  his  secret  soul-name  (re/7),  she  was  entitled  Renenet,  the  Lady 
of  the  Double  Granary,  a  reference  to  her  inexhaustible  breasts.13 
The  bovine  enzyme  rennet,  used  even  in  antiquity  to  curdle  milk,  was 
also  sacred  to  her. 

A  favorite  Roman  emblem  of  the  Goddess  was  the  Cornucopia, 
Horn  of  Plenty:  a  cow's  horn  pouring  forth  all  the  fruits  of  the  earth. 
The  cow  was  honored  as  the  wetnurse  of  humanity,  and  her  image  is 


Herodotus  said  the 
milk-giving  Mother 
Hera-Io-Latona  was 
the  same  as  Egypt's 
Buto,  "an  archaic 
queen  of  the  Lower 
Kingdom."5  The 
holy  city  of  Buto, 
Egypt's  oldest 
oracular  shrine,  was 
known  to  the  Greeks 
as  Latopolis,  "city  of 
Lat."4  Of  course 
Buto,  or  Lat,  was  only 
another  name  for 
Hathor,  or  Isis,  or  Mut, 
or  Neith;  all 
represented  "the  great 
cow  which  gave  birth 
to  Ra,  the  great 
goddess,  the  mother 
of  all  the  gods  ...  the 
Cow,  the  great  lady, 
lady  of  the  south,  the 
great  one  who  gave 
birth  to  the  sun,  who 
made  the  germ  of 
gods  and  men,  the 
mother  of  Ra,  who 
raised  up  Tern  in 
primeval  time,  who 
existed  when  nothing 
else  had  being,  and 
who  created  that  which 


Cowrie  still  inadvertently  invoked  to  this  day  as  an  expletive  Holy  Cow,  or  a 

pejorative  Sacred  Cow. 

^^^^^^^^^^_  1.  Thomson,  50.  2.  Elworthy,  183, 194.  3.  Lamusse,  29.  4.  Herodotus,  106. 

^^^^^^^^^^  5.  Budge,  G.E.  1, 457-58, 463.  6.  Turville-Petre,  256.  7.  Lamusse,  248. 

8. 0'Flaherty,  274.  9.  Campbell,  Or.M.,  467.  10.  Waddell,  404. 

1 1.  Frazer,  F.O.T.,  220-22.  12.  Neumann,  G.M.,  pi.  9. 

13.  Lamusse,  38;  H.  Smith,  24. 


Its  name  derived  from  Kauri,  who  was  the  same  as  Kali-Cunti,  Yoni 
of  the  Universe,  the  cowrie  shell  everywhere  represented  the  divine 
vulva  and  usually  conveyed  the  idea  of  rebirth.  Skeletons  from  the 
Solutrean  period,  ca.  20,000  B.C.,  have  been  found  "lavishly  decorated 
with  cowrie  shells." l 

Egyptians  decorated  sarcophagi  with  cowrie  shells  as  a  rebirth 
charm.  Cowries  are  still  prized  throughout  the  east  for  their  supposed 
healing  and  regenerative  powers.  Cowrie  necklaces  are  valued  in  India 
as  amulets  against  the  evil  eye.2  Moslem  women  believe  cowries 
should  be  worn  on  the  body  during  pregnancy.  The  Japanese  keep 
cowries  in  wardrobe  cabinets  "for  luck";  if  no  cowries  are  available, 
pornographic  pictures  of  female  genitals  serve  as  a  substitute.5  Gypsies 
valued  a  cowrie  above  all  other  kinds  of  protective  amulets.4  Chris- 
tianized natives  of  the  Sudan  consider  a  strip  of  leather  stamped  with  the 
sign  of  the  cross  a  valuable  amulet;  but  it  is  not  "strong  magic"  unless 
nine  cowrie  shells  are  attached  to  it.5 

Romans  called  the  cowrie  shell  matriculus,  "little  matrix,"  symbol 
of  an  Alma  Mater  (soul-mother)  or  teaching  priestess,  which  is  why  a 
student  still  "matriculates"  into  instruction.  The  Roman  Alma  Mater 
taught  the  philosophy  of  love  as  well  as  the  love  of  philosophy.  Unlike 
Christians,  the  pagans  believed  the  capacity  for  heterosexual  love 
required  careful  nurture  and  training. 

Sometimes  the  Romans  called  a  cowrie  porcelk,  "little  sow," 
because  it  stood  for  the  Goddess  who  was  the  Great  Sow,  like 
Demeter,  Astarte,  Ceres,  Freya,  Cerridwen,  etc.  From  porcelk  came 
"porcelain,"  so  called  because  of  its  resemblance  to  the  white  glazed 
surface  of  the  shell.6  A  Greek  word  for  the  cowrie  was  kteis,  which  also 
meant  a  scallop,  a  comb,  and  a  vulva.7 

The  extreme  antiquity  of  cowrie  symbolism  in  the  Middle  East  is 
shown  by  the  ancestor-skulls  preserved  by  the  people  of  Jericho  in  the 
7th  millenium  b.c.  These  forerunners  of  the  Jewish  teraphim  were 
severed  from  the  body,  provided  with  features  of  painted  plaster,  and 
made  to  "see"  with  the  eyes  of  cowrie  shells.8 

Speaking  of  the  Melanesians'  and  Polynesians'  reverence  for 
cowries,  a  missionary,  Rev.  George  Brown,  wrote,  "There  is  some 
sacredness  about  them,  but  what  it  is,  is  not  at  all  clear.  The  natives  will 
not  talk  about  them  at  all."9  It  seems  likely  that  the  natives  he 


nentioned  had  already  become  well  aware  that  there  was  no  use  talking  Crab 

about  sexual  symbols  to  missionaries.  Creation 

1.  Campbell,  P.M.,  376.  2.  Gifford,  79.  3.  Briffault  3, 277-78  4  Trigg  43 

5.  Budge  AT ', 352.  6.  Leland,  102.  7.  Lindsay,  A.W.,  1 32.  8.  Whitehouse,  168.  ^^"^■™^— 

9.  Briffault  3,  275. 


ie  peculiar  significance  of  Cancer,  the  Crab,  in  ancient  astrology 
is  that  it  presaged  the  coming  of  the  end  of  the  world.  Chaldeans 
elieved  the  world  would  dissolve  and  return  to  its  primordial 
ements  when  all  the  planets  lined  up  in  the  constellation  of  the  Crab, 
ie  same  doctrine  appeared  in  India,  Egypt,  Persia,  China,  northern 
Lurope,  and  pre-Columbian  central  America.1 

The  sign  of  the  Crab  was  particularly  associated  with  water  and  the 
m,  both  typically  representative  of  the  Great  Goddess  who  was 
apposed  to  bring  all  things  to  their  doom.2 
1.  Campbell,  M.I.,  149.  2.  Gertings,  95. 

Crann  Bethadh 

In  Celtic  myth,  the  phallic  Tree  of  Life,  planted  in  the  yonic  shrine  at 
the  center  of  the  earth;  comparable  to  Yggdrasil,  the  Stone  of  Fal, 
Irminsul,  the  axis  mundi,  and  many  other  versions  of  the  cosmic 


Myths  of  creation  generally  present  a  symbolic  view  of  birth.  Condi- 
tions before  creation  suggest  the  uterine  environment:  darkness,  liquid, 
stirring  or  churning  movement,  the  "eternal  flux"  associated  with  the 
blood  of  the  Mother  (Kali's  Ocean  of  Blood,  for  example).  Often  there 
is  a  suggestion  of  one  entity  inside  another.  "When  there  was  neither 
the  creation,  nor  the  sun,  the  moon,  the  planets,  and  the  earth,  and 
when  darkness  was  enveloped  in  Darkness,  then  the  Mother,  the 
Formless  One,  Maha-Kali,  the  Great  Power,  was  one  with  Maha-Kala, 
the  Absolute." x 

The  Bible's  highly  derivative  version  says  "the  earth  was  without 
form,  and  void:  and  darkness  was  upon  the  face  of  the  Deep" 
(Genesis  1:2).  The  Deep  was  the  Mother's  womb,  tehom,  derived  from 
Tiamat,  the  Babylonian  name  of  the  primordial  Goddess.  In  Egypt, 
she  was  Temu,  mother  of  the  abyssal  elements:  Water,  Darkness, 
Night,  and  Eternity.2 

Most  creation  myths  speak  of  a  splitting  or  opening  in  the  dark, 
formless  Mother.  The  beginning  of  the  existing  world  is  signaled  by 



Jean  Astruc  1 8th- 
century  French 
Catholic  physician 
and  scholar. 

the  coming  of  light.  Romans  made  the  connection  with  birth  quite 
clear:  Juno  Lucina  was  not  only  a  creatress,  but  also  the  Mother  who 
brought  "light"  to  the  eyes  of  the  newborn.3  The  biblical  God  who  said 
"Let  there  be  light"  (Fiat  lux)  copied  the  word  of  the  Goddess. 

The  prominence  given  everywhere  to  that  moment  of  light  sug- 
gests archetypal  memories  of  the  first  impact  of  light  on  newborn  eyes 
which  have  never  seen  light  before.  Like  dreams  of  the  individual 
unconscious,  myths  of  the  collective  unconscious  reveal  hidden 
memories  of  the  birth  trauma.  "Locked  up  in  the  depths  of  our 
unconscious  mind  is  the  terrific  impact  of  birth,  the  violent  adventure 
that  uprooted  our  pre-natal  world."4  It  is  also  locked  up  in  the  symbol- 
ism of  myths,  projected  onto  a  cosmic  scale. 

Creation/birth  was  inseparable  from  the  figure  of  the  Mother.  The 
oldest  myths  made  her  the  divider  of  waters,  maker  of  heaven  and 
earth.  When  a  god  came  into  the  picture,  he  was  at  first  only  her 
subordinate  consort,  one  of  the  beings  she  had  created:  sometimes  a 
disembodied  phallus,  in  the  form  of  a  serpent.  Late  Egyptian  gods  who 
claimed  to  be  creators  never  succeeded  in  ridding  themselves  of 
feminine  imagery.  For  instance,  Khepera  insisted  that  he  created  the 
universe  alone,  "there  was  no  other  being  who  worked  with  me."  Yet 
he  had  to  say,  "I  laid  a  foundation  in  Maa,"  meaning  the  Great  Womb, 
the  Goddess  Maat.5 

Often  it  is  said  when  the  god  was  allowed  to  create,  he  became 
puffed  up  with  pride,  and  began  to  ignore  his  Mother  and  claim  sole 
authorship  of  the  universe.  This  angered  the  Goddess.  She  punished 
him,  bruised  his  head  with  her  heel,  and  sent  him  down  to  the 
underworld.6  (See  Eve.)  Sumerian  creation  myths  said  when  the 
Goddess's  son-spouse  began  to  show  signs  of  hubris  she  laid  the  curse 
of  exile  on  him,  saying,  "Henceforth  thou  shalt  dwell  neither  in  heaven 
nor  on  earth."7  This  raises  all  kinds  of  questions  about  Middle- 
Eastern  sacrificial  gods  who  died  in  expiation  of  a  primal  sin,  hung  on 
trees  or  crosses  "between  heaven  and  earth." 

Gnostic  creation  myths  of  the  early  Christian  era  were  still  telling 
versions  in  which  the  female  principle  was  pre-eminent,  which  is  why 
they  were  declared  uncanonical.  "In  his  madness,"  Jehovah  claimed  to 
be  the  only  God,  because  he  had  forgotten  the  Mother  who  brought 
him  into  being,  according  to  one  source.  The  Mother  of  Gods  was 
angry  that  he  had  impiously  sinned  against  her,  and  against  her  other 
children,  the  male  and  female  Immortal  Ones.  These  were  the  elohim 
of  the  Book  of  Genesis.  God  grouped  himself  with  them,  calling  the 
group  "us"  (Genesis  3:22).  But  Bible  revisions  tended  to  erase  earlier 
deities,  especially  female  ones.  After  the  centuries  of  choosing  and 
revising  canonical  books,  nearly  every  trace  of  female  divinity  had  been 
eliminated  from  Christian  literature.8 

As  long  ago  as  1753,  Astruc  recognized  that  the  Book  of  Genesis 


contains  at  least  two  mutually  contradictory  versions  of  the  creation  Creation 
■nyth.  One  version  the  scholars  call  E,  for  it  speaks  of  plural  creators, 

lohim,  male  and  female  deities.  Another  version  is  J,  for  Jehovah  _^____^^^_ 

tlohim,  the  God  of  gods.  The  two  versions  disagree  in  many  points:  *^^^^^^™^^ 

E:  birds  and  beasts  created  before  man. 
J:  man  created  before  birds  and  beasts. 

E:  birds  made  of  water,  along  with  fishes. 
J:  birds  made  of  earth,  along  with  beasts. 

E:  man  given  dominion  over  the  whole  earth. 
J:  man  placed  only  in  the  garden,  "to  dress  it  and  keep  it,"  like  the 
men  created  to  be  farmer-slaves  in  the  Sumerian  original. 

E:  man  and  woman  created  together,  after  the  beasts:  "male  and 
emale  created  he  (they)  them,  and  God  (elohim,  the  deities)  blessed 

J:  man  created  alone,  before  beasts  and  birds;  woman  made  from 
us  rib. 

E:  creation  took  place  in  six  days. 
J:  creation  took  place  in  one  day. 

E:  nothing  was  said  about  the  Fall,  which  appeared  only  in  the 

The  Fall  was  all-important.  If  it  never  took  place,  there  was  no 
mginal  sin,  no  necessity  for  redemption,  no  Savior.  Dean  Burgon  of 

hichester  said  to  deny  the  literal  truth  of  the  Genesis  story  was  to 
'cause  the  entire  scheme  of  man's  salvation  to  collapse."  Calvin  stood 
iquarely  behind  what  he  thought  the  Bible  said,  and  insisted  that  all 
pecies  of  animals  were  created  at  once,  in  a  period  of  six  normal  days, 
ach  with  a  morning  and  evening,  as  stated.  Those  who  disagree  with 
lim,  he  said,  "basely  insult  the  Creator,"  and  will  meet  after  death  "a 
udge  who  will  annihilate  them."9 

The  clergy's  notion  of  investigating  the  origins  of  man  consisted 
)f  studying  the  Bible  to  add  up  the  given  ages  of  patriarchs  since  Adam. 
This  had  been  done  in  the  7th  century  by  Isidore  of  Seville,  who 
:ame  up  with  a  strange  Bible-based  view  of  history:  "Joseph  lived  105 
/ears.  Greece  began  to  cultivate  grain.  The  Jews  were  in  slavery  in 
Egypt  144  years.  Atlas  discovered  astrology.  Joshua  ruled  for  27  years. 
Erichthonius  yoked  horses  together.  Othniel,  40  years.  Cadmus 
ntroduced  letters  into  Greece.  Deborah,  40  years.  Apollo  discovered 
he  art  of  medicine  and  invented  the  cithara.  Gideon,  40  years.  Mercury 
nvented  the  lyre  and  gave  it  to  Orpheus."  Reasoning  on  this  level — 
ind  never  noticing  anything  odd  about  the  many  consecutive  reigns  of 
K)  years— Archbishop  Usher  in  1650  placed  the  date  of  creation  in 
K)04  b.c.  Dr.  John  Lightfoot,  19th-century  Vice-Chancellor  of  the 




Malebranche  (1638- 
1715)  French 
metaphysician  who 
attempted  to 
reconcile  Cartesian 
philosophy  with 
Catholic  doctrine. 

University  of  Cambridge,  carried  the  calculations  even  further:  "Man 
was  created  by  the  Trinity  on  the  twenty-third  of  October,  4004  B.C.,  a 
nine  o'clock  in  the  morning." 10 

The  absurdity  of  such  reasoning  began  to  be  exposed  in  1830 
when  Sir  Charles  Lyell's  Principles  of  Geology  investigated  the  earth's 
long-term  changes,  showing  that  creation  could  not  have  taken  place  ii 
six  days,  nor  in  six  years,  nor  even  six  thousand  years.  Geologists  were 
finding  fossils  of  animals  that  lived  millions  of  years  ago.  Bones  of 
extinct  species  were  found  in  caves,  mingled  with  human  bones. 
Archeologists  found  high  civilization  flourishing  in  Egypt  in  6000  B.C., 
with  evidence  of  vastly  older  savage  periods.  Cuneiform  writings 
showed  that  the  people  of  Mesopotamia  were  telling  the  same  story  of 
creation  that  the  Bible  told — and  telling  it  thousands  of  years  earlier. 

Christian  scholars  tried  hard  to  refute  the  new  findings.  Gosse's 
Omphalos  claimed  all  fossils,  marks  of  retreating  glaciers,  lava  flows, 
sedimentary  rock  strata,  etc.,  were  created  instantaneously  by  God  witl 
an  appearance  of  pre-existence.  Chateaubriand  said  God  deliberately 
fooled  men  with  the  false  appearance  of  pre-existence  in  order  to  test 
their  faith.  Others  tried  to  explain  fossils  by  calling  them  God's 
deceptions,  formed  of  "lapidific  juice"  or  "seminal  air."  u 

Naturally  these  crude  views  had  to  be  abandoned  in  the  end. 
Upholders  of  the  Bible  then  tried  to  call  the  Genesis  creation  myth 
allegorical,  with  each  "day"  corresponding  to  a  large  span  of  prehistori 
time.  This  didn't  work  either.  The  Bible  brought  plants  into  being 
before  the  sun,  on  which  plant  life  depends;  made  fish  and  birds  befon 
"creeping  things"  on  land  which  was  hardly  the  case;  and  produced 
"light"  before  the  only  sources  of  light,  sun  and  moon. 

However  absurd,  these  myths  still  maintain  a  hold  on  vast  numb( 
of  people  deliberately  kept  in  ignorance  by  an  obsolete  fundamentalisr 
Even  educated  adults  sometimes  insist  that  an  omniscient  god  created 
the  world  for  a  purpose  of  his  own.12  Malebranche  came  up  with  an 
original  notion,  which  may  have  helped  the  public  image  of  his  churcl 
but  made  his  God  look  rather  less  than  grand.  He  said  God  "can  love 
only  Himself  and  therefore  act  only  with  the  ultimate  purpose  of 

increasing  His  glory Thus  the  sole  purpose  of  the  creation  was  the 

incarnation  and  the  formation  of  the  Church."  n 

I.  de  Riencourt,  165.  2.  Budge,  D.N.,  211.  3.  Larousse,  203.  4.  Fodor,  4. 
5.  Budge,  G.E.  1,  295.  6.  Graves, G.M.  1,  27.  7.  Campbell, Or.  M.,  111. 
8.  Pagels,  29,  57.  9.  White  1, 26, 76.  10.  White  1, 251,  256. 

II.  White  1,214.  12.  Campbell,  P.M.,  87.  13.  Walker,  204. 


Welsh  name  for  the  May  Queen,  one  of  the  "three  sisters"  (Triple 
Goddess),  in  whose  honor  two  heroes  fought  one  another  every  May 
Day  until  the  end  of  the  world;  the  same  as  Shakespeare's  "Corde- 
lia." See  Gwyn. 


Crispin,  Saint  Crispin,  Saint 

Roman  tutelary  god  of  shoemakers,  transformed  into  a  saint  by  a  Cronus 

"very  late  and  quite  worthless"  legend. >  October  2  5 ,  the  day  of  the  ^^^aiHHi 

shoemakers'  feast  among  the  pagans,  was  adopted  as  St.  Crispin's 
Day.2  He  is  still  the  patron  of  shoemakers,  and  his  symbol  is  a  shoe. 

1.  Attwater,  94.  2.  de  Lys,  182. 


General  designation  of  the  third  of  the  Triple  Goddess's  three 
aspects,  exemplified  by  such  figures  as  Kali  the  Destroyer,  Cerridwen 
the  death-dealing  Sow,  Atropos  the  Cutter,  Macha,  Hecate,  Hel, 
Eresh-Kigal,  Morgan,  Queen  of  the  Ghostworld,  Queen  of  the  Under- 
world, Queen  of  the  Shades,  Persephone  "the  Destroyer,"  etc.  All 
such  forms  represented  old  age  or  death,  winter,  doomsday,  the  waning 
moon,  and  other  symbols  of  the  inevitable  destruction  or  dissolution 
that  must  precede  regeneration. 

The  "Crone"  may  have  descended  from  Rhea  Kronia  as  Mother 
of  Time,  though  the  title  has  been  linked  with  Coronis,  the  carrion 
crow,  since  crows  and  other  black  creatures  were  sacred  to  the  Death- 
goddess.  Her  fearsome  character  often  had  a  "virgin  mother"  side  as 
well,  because  her  trinity  of  appearances  was  cyclic.  It  was  said  in  the 
East  that  true  lovers  of  the  Goddess  must  love  her  ugly  "destroyer" 
images  as  well  as  her  beautiful  ones.  The  Crone  also  represented  the 
third  (post-menopausal)  phase  of  women's  lives,  and  her  shrines  were 
served  by  priestesses  in  this  stage  of  life.  Because  it  was  believed  that 
women  became  very  wise  when  they  no  longer  shed  the  lunar  "wise 
blood"  but  kept  it  within,  the  Crone  was  usually  a  Goddess  of  Wisdom. 
Minerva,  Athene,  Metis,  Sophia,  and  Medusa  provide  typical 


Titan  god  who  castrated  his  father  Uranus  (Heaven)  and  was  in  turn 
deposed  by  his  own  son  Zeus.  Knowing  the  danger  his  children  posed, 
Cronus  tried  to  prevent  it  by  swallowing  them  all — an  early  version 
of  the  Slaughter  of  the  Innocents — but  Zeus  escaped.  Cronus  was 
confused  with  Chronos,  "Time,"  because  Time  swallows  up  every- 
thing it  brings  forth — actually  a  characteristic  of  Cronus's  mother-mate, 
Rhea  Kronia,  the  Goddess  personifying  time  and  fate.  She  was  really 
Mother  Earth,  who  gave  birth  to  Cronus;  and  Rhea,  who  married  him; 
and  Hera,  who  married  his  son  Zeus;  the  three  of  them  comparable 
to  the  Mother,  Grandmother,  and  Great-grandmother  Goddesses  in 
northern  Europe.1  See  Caste. 

1.  Graves,  G.M.  1,37-40. 


Cross  Cross 

The  "Latin"  or  "Passion"  cross,  now  the  primary  symbol  of  Chris- 
^^^^^^^^■■^      tianity,  was  not  shown  in  Christian  art  until  six  centuries  after  Christ.1 
But  long  before  the  Christian  era  it  was  a  pagan  religious  symbol 
throughout  Europe  and  western  Asia.2  Early  Christians  even  repudiatec 
the  cross  because  it  was  pagan.  A  church  father  of  the  3rd  century, 

+  Minucius  Felix,  indignantly  denied  that  Christians  worshipped  the 

cross:  "You  it  is,  ye  Pagans,  who  are  the  most  likely  people  to  adore 
wooden  crosses ...  for  what  else  are  your  ensigns,  flags,  and  standards, 
but  crosses  gilt  and  beautiful.  Your  victorious  trophies  not  only 
represent  a  simple  cross,  but  a  cross  with  a  man  on  it."? 

From  very  ancient  times,  an  effigy  of  a  man  hanging  on  a  cross 

Latin  Cross  was  set  up  in  fields  to  protect  the  crops.  The  modern  scarecrow  is  a 

survival  of  this  sacrificial  magic,  representing  the  sacred  king  whose 
blood  was  supposed  to  fertilize  the  earth.  He  was  never  abandoned, 
even  though  every  farmer  knew  that  no  scarecrow  ever  really  scared  a 

The  cross  was  also  a  male  symbol  of  the  phallic  Tree  of  Life; 
therefore  it  often  appeared  in  conjunction  with  the  female-genital 
circle  or  oval,  to  signify  the  sacred  marriage.  Male  cross  and  female  orb 
composed  the  Egyptian  "amulet  Nefer,"  or  amulet  of  blessedness,  a 
charm  of  sexual  harmony.5 

The  so-called  Celtic  cross,  with  the  crossing  of  the  arms  encircled 
by  a  ring,  was  another  lingam-yoni  sign  of  sexual  union,  known  to  the 

Hindus  as  Kiakra.6  Some  old  Celtic  crosses  still  in  existence  show 

Celtic  Cross  obvious  phallic  elements,  even  to  a  realistic  meatus  at  the  cross's  tip.7 

Crosses  signified  a  god's  love-death  even  in  pre-Columbian  art  of  the 
western  hemisphere,  which  showed  the  Savior  carrying  his  cross,  an 
image  very  similar  to  the  Christian  one.8 

No  one  knows  exactly  when  the  cross  became  associated  with 
Christianity.  Early  images  of  Jesus  represented  him  not  on  a  cross, 
but  in  the  guise  of  the  Osirian  or  Hermetic  "Good  Shepherd,"  carrying 

+  a  lamb.  Later,  many  different  kinds  of  crosses  were  used  as  Christian 

symbols.  They  included  the  Greek  cross  of  equal  arms,  the  X-shaped  St 
Andrew's  cross,  the  swastika,  the  Gnostic  Maltese  cross,  the  solar 
cross  or  Cross  of  Wotan,  and  the  ansated  cross,  a  development  of  the 
Egyptian  ankh,  also  found  as  the  Cross  of  Venus.9 

Greeks  said  this  cross  was  "common  to  the  worship  of  Christ  and 

Greek  Cross  Sarapis." 10  The  Goddess  Isis  is  shown  on  the  Isiac  Table  with  the 

cross  in  one  hand,  a  lotus  seed-vessel  in  the  other,  signifying  male  and 
female  genitalia.11  As  her  consort,  the  god  Sarapis  was  incarnate  in 
Ptolemy.  The  words  "Ptolemy  the  Savior"  were  followed  by  a  cross  on 
the  Damietta  Stone.  Pious  Christian  scholars  once  tried  to  pretend 
that  this  phrase  was  really  a  prophecy  of  the  future  Christ.12 

For  a  few  centuries  the  emblem  of  Christ  was  a  headless  T-shaped 
Tau  cross  rather  than  a  Latin  cross.  This  may  have  been  copied  from 
pagan  druids,  who  made  Tau  crosses  of  oak  trees  stripped  of  their 



branches,  with  two  large  limbs  fastened  at  the  top  to  represent  a  Cross 

man's  arms.  This  was  the  Thau,  or  god.13 

A  Tau  cross  was  the  sign  of  the  holy  day  aptly  named  the  ^^^^^^^^ 

Invention  of  the  Cross,  purporting  to  commemorate  the  discovery  of 
the  True  Cross  by  the  empress  Helena,  mother  of  Constantine,  in  a 
crypt  under  the  temple  of  Aphrodite  in  Jerusalem.14  After  it  was 
generally  replaced  by  the  Latin  cross,  the  Tau  cross  was  reassigned  to 
St.  Philip,  supposedly  crucified  on  a  Tau  cross  in  Phrygia,  where  he 
was  trying  to  exorcise  the  god  Mars  in  the  form  of  a  dragon.15  This 
means  the  Tau  cross  was  the  sign  of  May  Day,  which  the  church 
adopted  as  St.  Philip's  day;  and  the  druidic  Thau  was  confused  with  the 

The  Invention  of  the  Cross  was  first  heard  of  long  after  the  lifetime      Tau  Cross 
of  the  empress  Helena.  The  date  assigned  to  her  "discovery"  was 
328  a.d.,  though  no  contemporary  chronicler  thought  fit  to  mention 
such  a  momentous  event.  The  legend  said  Helena  found  three 
crosses  under  Aphrodite's  temple,  but  couldn't  decide  which  belonged 
to  Christ,  which  to  the  two  thieves.  She  had  a  corpse  brought,  and 
laid  on  each  cross  in  turn.  When  laid  on  the  right  one,  the  dead  man 
sprang  up  alive.  According  to  an  alternative  story,  the  True  Cross 
instantly  restored  the  health  of  "a  noble  lady  who  was  near  to  death." 16 

Christian  authorities  also  claimed  the  empress  found  the  Holy 
Nails  and  the  INRI  scroll,  but  the  latter  somehow  disappeared  and 
was  lost  for  over  a  thousand  years.  In  1492  it  was  miraculously 
rediscovered  in  the  Church  of  the  Holy  Cross  in  Rome,  where  it 
seemed  to  have  been  all  the  time.  Pope  Alexander  III  published  a  bull 
infallibly  attesting  to  its  authenticity.17 

The  Invention  of  the  Cross  proved  enormously  useful  in  the 
Middle  Ages,  to  account  for  the  veritable  forest  of  splinters  of  the 
True  Cross  revered  in  Europe's  churches.  There  was  so  much  miracle- 
working  wood  of  the  True  Cross  that  Calvin  said  it  would  make  "a 
full  load  for  a  good  ship." 18 

The  church  claimed  the  True  Cross  was  made  of  the  same  wood 
that  grew  as  the  Tree  of  Life  in  the  garden  of  Eden.  It  was  carried  out 
by  Adam,  and  preserved  by  all  the  patriarchs  in  turn  (even  riding  the 
Flood  in  Noah's  ark),  for  the  sole  purpose  of  crucifying  the  Savior 
when  he  appeared.  Gnostic  sources  added  an  Oedipal  twist:  Jesus's  cross 
was  put  together  by  his  father,  Joseph  the  carpenter.  Moreover,  the 
cross  was  planted  on  the  very  spot  where  the  Tree  of  Life  once  grew. 
The  church  said  it  became  "the  Tree  of  the  Cross,  so  that  whence 
came  death,  thence  also  life  might  rise  again."  These  absurdities  were 
implicitly  believed  through  the  Middle  Ages.19 

Male  genitals  are  still  called  "the  tree  of  life"  by  the  Arabs,  and  a 
cross  was  one  of  the  oldest  diagrammatic  images  of  male  genitals. 
Among  Christians  there  was  at  least  some  recognition  of  the  cross's 
phallic  significance.  An  ancient  crucifix  at  Sancreed  in  Cornwall  was 
a  spear  set  upright  in  a  holy  vase  (the  uterine  vessel)  with  two  testicle- 


Crossroads  like  scrolls  appended  to  its  shaft.20  The  cross  entering  the  labyrinth 

was  one  of  the  oldest  symbols  of  the  lingam-yoni  in  the  west,  dating 

^^^^^^^^^^^_      back  to  early  Neolithic  times.  Spiral  "feminine"  labyrinths  penetrated 

by  a  cross  occur  in  prehistoric  rock  carvings  from  Crete,  at  Tintagel  in 

Cornwall,  Wier  Island  in  Finland,  and  Chartres  Cathedral.21 

Conscious  or  not,  the  phallic  connotations  of  the  cross  appear  even 

in  the  present  century.  In  the  1950's  a  poem  in  the  magazine  Wake 

said:  "Christ,  I  have  walked  around  your  erection,  The  Cross,  that 

begot,  upon  a  sky  of  prayer,  a  billion  men,  devoted  in  humility."22 

During  the  so-called  Age  of  Faith,  the  peasants  were  perhaps  not 

so  devoted  in  humility  to  the  cross  as  churchmen  wanted.  Certain 

brotherhoods  of  "accursed  huntsmen"  or  "archer  wizards"  constantly 

defaced  roadside  crosses,  believing  they  could  acquire  magic  skill  with 

the  bow  by  shooting  three  arrows  in  succession  at  a  crucifix.2*  Thus  they 

opposed  the  phallic  trident  of  the  ancient  Lord  of  the  Hunt  to 

Christ's  symbol.  (See  Trident.)  Today,  the  cross  is  often  an  article  of 

jewelry,  attesting  an  amuletic  function  virtually  indistinguishable 

from  its  magical  prophylactic  use  in  antiquity. 

1.  H.  Smith,  188;  Cumont,  O.R.R.R,  109.  2.  Budge,  AT.,  336.  3.  Doane,  345. 

4.  de  Lys,  42.  5.  Budge,  E.M.,  59.  6.  Baring-Gould,  C.M.M.A.,  374. 

7.  de  Paor,  pi.  37.  8.  Campbell,  M.I.,  175.  9.  Jung,  M.S.,  43. 

10.  Baring-Gould,  C.M.M.A.,  355.  11.  Knight,  D.W.P.,  50.  12.  d'Alviella,  15. 

13.  Elworthy,  103-4.  14.  J.H.  Smith,  C.G.,  322.  15.  Brewster,  221,226. 

16.  de  Voragine,  274.  17.  Budge,  A.T.,  343-44.  18.  Kendall,  p.  122. 

19.  Male,  153.  20.  Baring-Gould,  C.M.M.A.,  613.  21.  Hitching,  237. 

22.  Ellis,  1 12.  23.  Kramer  &  Sprenger,  1 50. 


In  the  Greco-Roman  world,  crossroads  were  sacred  to  the  elder 
Diana  under  the  name  of  Hecate  Trevia  (Hecate  of  the  Three  Ways), 
mother  of  the  Lares  compitales,  "spirits  of  the  crossroads."  Travelers 
made  offerings  to  the  Goddess's  three-faced  images,  and  regular  festivals 
called  Compitalia  were  celebrated  at  her  roadside  shrines.1 

Four-way  crossroads  were  sometimes  dedicated  to  Hermes,  whose 
ithyphallic  herms  stood  beside  them  until  replaced  by  Christians' 
roadside  crosses.  However,  the  Christian  sign  of  the  cross  was  copied 
from  Hermes's  cult  and  traced  his  sacred  numeral  4  on  the  worship- 
per's head  and  breast.  Hermetic  crosses  were  left  at  the  crossroads  of 
10th-century  Ireland  and  simply  re-interpreted  as  Christian  symbols, 
though  they  plainly  displayed  the  twin  serpents  of  the  pagan  caduceus, 
another  sign  of  the  older  deity.2 

Cross,  herm,  and  caduceus  merged  in  northern  symbolism  with 
the  gallows  tree  of  Odin/ Wotan,  "God  of  the  Hanged,"  which  led  to 
the  Christian  custom  of  erecting  a  gallows  at  crossroads  as  well  as  a 
crucifix.  The  god  on  the  gallows  once  played  the  same  role  as  Jesus 
on  the  cross:  a  dying-god  image  rendered  the  crossroad  numinous.  Pre- 
Christian  Europeans  held  waymeets,  or  moots,  at  crossroads  to 
invoke  their  deities'  attention  to  the  proceedings;  hence  a  moot  point 


used  to  be  one  to  be  decided  at  a  meet.  The  Goddess  as  Mother 
Earth,  dispenser  of  "natural  law"  and  creatress  of  birth-and-death 
cycles,  was  always  present  where  the  dying  god  died — as  the  women 
long  remembered.  The  English  monk  Aelfric  complained  of  female 
customs  dedicating  newborn  infants  to  the  ancient  Mother.  Women 
would  "go  to  the  crossways  and  drag  their  children  over  the  earth,  and 
thereby  give  both  themselves  and  their  children  to  the  Devil."3 

As  the  crossroad  ceremonies  and  their  deities  became  diabolized, 
the  Goddess  of  the  waymeet  became  the  queen  of  witches,  who  still 
worked  magic  there.  The  Key  of  Solomon  said  crossroads  were  the  best 
of  all  places  for  magical  procedures  "during  the  depth  and  silence  of 
the  night."4  Ghosts  of  the  hanged,  of  the  heathen,  and  of  ancient 
aracles  still  haunted  crossroads.  Bernard  Ragner  said  a  spirit  voice 
would  foretell  the  future  to  anyone  who  went  to  a  crossroad  at  the  last 
hour  of  Christmas  Eve.  As  late  as  the  1920's,  English  farmers  still 
relieved  witches'  sabbats  were  held  at  crossroads.  Necromantic  supersti- 
:ions  were  encouraged  by  the  custom  of  burying  criminals  and 
suicides  in  unhallowed  ground  at  crossroads;  clergymen  said  anyone  so 
juried  would  walk  as  a  ghost.  Sometimes,  such  corpses  were  pinned 
down  with  a  stake:  "A  stake  was  driven  through  them  when  deposited  at 
:he  cross-roads  in  order  to  keep  the  ghost  from  wandering  abroad." 5 
Presumably,  the  ghost  could  be  consulted  in  situ,  just  as  spirits  could  be 
aised  from  their  graves  in  the  churchyard  by  any  necromancer. 

Thus  Hermes  and  Hecate,  who  led  the  souls  of  the  dead  in 
antiquity,  became  dread  spirits  of  "witchcraft"  in  the  same  places  that 
hey  once  benevolently  ruled. 


1.  Hyde,  137.  2.  Campbell,  M.I. 
5.  Summers,  V,  154-57. 

337.  3.  Briffault  3, 58.  4.  Wedeck,  153. 


\long  with  the  vulture  and  raven,  the  carrion-eating  crow  was 
borthern  Europe's  common  symbol  of  the  Death-goddess.  Valkyries, 
pometimes  described  as  man-eating  women,  often  took  totemic  form 
as  ravens  or  crows.1 

Anglo-Danish  myths  spoke  of  a  witch  named  Krake  (Crow), 
daughter  of  the  Valkyrie  Brunnhilde.  Krake  was  a  shape-shifter:  at 
:imes  a  beautiful  virgin,  at  other  times  a  hag,  monster,  or  crow.  She 
■named  the  Danish  king  Ragnar  Lodbrok  (Leather-Breeches),  and 
jave  birth  to  the  hero  Sigurd.2  Sigurd  was  the  same  as  Siegfried,  whose 
nystic  lady-love  was  the  Valkyrie  Brunnhilde;  thus  appeared  the 
ame  convoluted  incestuous  relationships  found  in  the  oldest  myths  of 
acred  kingship.  Again,  the  Triple  Goddess  returned  as  the  three 
irophetic  daughters  of  Ragnar  and  Krake,  Fate-weavers  who  created 
he  magic  banner  called  Raven  (Hraefn).3 

There  was  a  mythological  Kraken  associated  with  the  sea,  pictured 
is  a  serpent  or  water-monster;  but  this  was  only  another  form  of  the 

Key  of  Solomon 

(Clavicule  de  Salomon) 
A  popular  "Black 
Book"  or  magic  book 
much  used  between  the 
11th  and  Bthcentu- 

Bernard  Ragner 

Author  of  Legends  and 
Customs  of  Christmas, 


Crusades  same  Death-goddess.  The  Three  Ravens  (Kraken)  in  old  ballads  were 

birds  of  doom  perching  over  the  slain  hero.  Sometimes  there  were 

^^^^^^^^^^m      only  two  of  them,  as  in  the  ballad  of  the  Twa  Corbies  (Two  Crows), 
who  proposed  to  pluck  out  the  bonny  blue  eyes  of  the  slain  knight.4 

Such  manifestations  of  the  Goddess  as  a  crow  might  be  linked  wit 
Coronis,  "Crow,"  a  death  aspect  of  the  pre-Hellenic  earth  mother 
Rhea.  Classical  mythographers  tended  to  ignore  Coronis,  rememberinj 
her  only  as  the  virgin  mother  of  the  healing  god  Asclepius;  but  she 
seems  to  have  been  another  of  the  Virgin-Crone  combinations:  Rhea 
Kronia  as  Mother  Time  who  brings  death  to  all  things.5 

1 .  Woods,  1 56.  2.  Guerber,  L.  M.  A.,  274-75.  3.  Turville-Petre,  59. 
4.  Sargent  &  Kittredge,  45.  5.  Graves,  GM.  1,  175;  2,  387. 


"Holy  wars"  designed  to  wrest  property  away  from  the  heathen  or 
heretic  enemies  of  orthodox  Christianity.  Crusades  were  usually  fough 
by  vassals  of  Christian  overlords,  including  the  wealthy  clergy.  War- 
riors were  promised  not  only  the  standard  soldiers'  spoils,  but  also 
indulgences,  like  instant  remission  of  sins  and  admission  to  heaven 
guaranteed  no  matter  what  crimes  the  crusader  may  have  committed. 

From  the  8th  to  10th  centuries,  the  Holy  Roman  Empire  was 
harassed  by  Norsemen,  who  owned  many  northern  trading  centers 
and  dominated  the  seas.  They  also  opened  negotiations  with  foreign 
powers  in  North  Africa  and  the  Middle  East.  In  834,  Arabian  legates 
visited  Denmark  to  contract  military  and  trade  alliances.1  The  Holy 
Roman  Empire  saw  itself  trapped  between  two  anti-Christian  forces: 
the  pagan  Normans  in  the  northwest,  and  the  Moslem  Saracens  in  the 
southeast.  Norsemen  controlled  trade  routes  through  the  Danube 
and  Black  Sea  to  the  Turks,  and  were  acquiring  hoards  of  Arabic  silver 
gold,  and  gems.  They  also  sailed  the  Atlantic  coasts  down  to  Gibral- 
tar, and  founded  colonies  in  Libya.  The  Kingdom  of  God  was  nearly 

Pope  Urban  II  tried  to  solve  the  problem  by  initiating  crusades  in 
the  east,  on  the  pretext  of  converting  the  Saracens'  possessions  in  the 
"Holy  Land"  into  Christian  fiefs.  In  1095  he  instigated  the  People's 
Crusade  as  a  combination  of  penitential  pilgrimage  and  a  war  of 
conquest.  It  was  advertised  throughout  Europe.  All  who  participated 
were  placed  above  restrictions  of  law,  and  promised  forgiveness  of 
sins  and  eternal  bliss  in  heaven  without  any  time  spent  in  purgatory. 

A  rabble  of  some  1 50,000  to  300,000  persons,  mostly  the  dregs  c 
society  mixed  with  military  mercenaries,  set  out  across  southern 
Europe,  killing,  torturing,  and  looting  as  they  went.  One  division 
slaughtered  10,000  Jews  in  the  Rhineland,  then  forgot  about  the 
Holy  Land  and  dispersed.  Two  other  divisions  did  so  much  harm  in 
Hungary  that  native  soldiers  rose  up  against  them  and  destroyed 
them  all.  Multitudes  died  along  the  way,  of  sickness,  hunger,  or  injurie 


brought  on  by  their  violence.  A  remnant  survived  to  plunder  the  too-  Crusades 

hospitable  Greeks,  then  to  enter  Constantinople.  There,  stronger 

crusaders  sold  off  the  weaker  ones  as  slaves,  to  finance  their  own  ^^^^^_^_^_ 

provisions.  Finally,  a  remaining  7,000  or  so  crossed  the  Bosporus  and 

were  attacked  by  the  Turks,  who  soon  killed  them  all.2 

One  might  think  the  fate  of  Pope  Urban's  crusade  would  have 
discouraged  future  experiments  of  this  kind.  Not  so.  It  seems  to  have 
been  an  idea  whose  time  had  come. 

Later  crusades  were  better  organized,  with  more  experienced 
soldiers  and  fewer  penitential  pilgrims.  Their  primary  motive  was 
loot.  For  the  next  400  years,  Christian  knights  went  forth  to  astonish  the 
Saracens  with  their  intellectual  naYvete  and  their  military  sophistica- 
tion, developed  in  a  feudal  society  based  on  warfare. 

The  Crusaders  in  general,  in  spite  of  their  sacred  cause,  behaved  like 
highway  robbers.  The  first  host  which  set  out  in  1095,  and  was 
annihilated  by  the  Turks  at  Nicaea,  killed,  burned  and  pillaged  all  they 
encountered.  The  army  commanded  by  Godfrey  de  Bouillon  massa- 
cred the  entire  population  of  Jerusalem  (1098).  The  astuteness  of  Venice 
turned  aside  the  fourth  Crusade  upon  Constantinople,  and  the  sack  of 
this  city  is  a  dark  blot  on  the  history  of  Western  Christendom  (1204).  It 
was  abominably  ravaged,  and  the  very  church  of  St.  Sophia  was  the 
scene  of  bloody  and  sacrilegious  orgies.  * 

A  contemporary  chronicler  said  Jerusalem  withstood  a  month's 
siege.  Upon  its  fall,  crusaders  rode  into  the  city  with  their  horses  wading 
"knee-deep  in  the  blood  of  disbelievers."  Jews  were  herded  into  their 
synagogues  and  burned  alive.  On  the  next  day,  the  knights  slaughtered 
"a  great  multitude  of  people  of  every  age,  old  men  and  women, 
maidens,  children  and  mothers  with  infants,  by  way  of  a  solemn 
sacrifice"  to  Jesus.4  At  the  battle  of  Acre,  Richard  Coeur  de  Lion 
violated  his  pledge  of  truce,  and  had  his  hostages  slaughtered  and  flayed. 
"His  conduct  stands  in  strong  contrast  with  the  dignity  and  forbear- 
ance of  Saladin,  before  whose  eyes  the  outrage  was  committed,  and  who 
would  not  stoop  to  retaliate  on  his  dastardly  opponent."5 

Once  the  crusading  system  was  established,  it  was  turned  on  other 
enemies  of  the  church  closer  to  home  and  became  the  standard 
method  for  dealing  with  European  heathens  and  heretics.  Between 
1236  and  1283  a  crusade  of  extermination  was  preached  against  the 
pagan  Prussians  by  Pope  Honorius,  and  carried  out  by  the  Teutonic 
Knights.  The  Christian  Brethren  of  the  Sword  similarly  converted 
Livonia  and  Courland.  Armies  of  the  Christian  Dukes  of  Poland  forced 
the  Wends  to  accept  Christian  baptism  and  vassalage.  The  Lithua- 
nians stubbornly  clung  to  their  paganism  to  the  end  of  the  14th  century, 
but  eventually  they  too  were  Christianized  by  the  sword.6 

It  was  noticed  in  the  1 3th  century  that  the  semi-barbarous  Ste- 
dingers  of  the  lower  Weser  river  maintained  their  ancient  tribal 
system,  paid  no  attention  to  the  church,  and  contributed  no  tithes.  Pope 
Gregory  IX  sent  bulls  to  the  bishops  of  Minden,  Lubeck,  and 


Crusades  Verden,  ordering  crusades  against  these  recalcitrant  peasants,  whom  he 

described  as  heretics  because  they  consulted  wise-women,  made 
^^^^^^^^^^^^      waxen  images,  and  worshipped  "demons."  Crusaders  were  promised 
blanket  pardon  for  their  sins.  However,  the  Stedingers  fought  back 
stubbornly,  and  several  campaigns  against  them  failed.  At  last  in  1234  a 
huge  army  marched  into  their  land,  ravaged  every  home  with  fire  and 
sword,  and  wiped  them  out.  Their  property  was  divided  between  the 
church  and  the  barons.7 

It  has  been  estimated  that  Europe  was  Christianized  at  a  cost  of 
about  8  million  to  10  million  lives.8  Even  after  nominal  conversion, 
there  was  much  residual  resistance  to  the  new  cult,  which  was  alien  and 
unappealing  to  the  people  it  was  imposed  on.  The  clergy  claimed 
authority  from  an  unfamiliar  eastern  savior  and  his  God,  defaming  all 
the  pagans'  local,  ancestral  deities — many  worshipped  since  the 
Neolithic  age — as  demons.  Moreover,  familiar  laws  and  lifestyle  were 
declared  wholly  sinful.  It's  hardly  surprising  that  there  arose  heresy 
after  heresy  to  confront  the  conquering  church,  which  became  increas- 
ingly fanatical  in  its  dictatorial  policies,  yet  in  the  end  failed  to 
overcome  the  people's  need  to  assert  their  own  religious  heterodoxy.9 
Many  refused  to  give  up  their  pagan  Goddess,  or  their  notion  that 
sexuality  contained  an  element  of  the  divine.  Many  remembered  a  time, 
not  so  long  before,  when  "holy  communion"  was  a  taste  of  divine 
bliss  through  sensual  pleasures:  an  idea  that  was  especially  prevalent  in 
the  south  of  France. 

Crusades  against  the  Catharan  or  Albigensian  heretics  of  southern 
France  were  particularly  virulent,  since  these  people  were  prosperous 
enough  to  attract  plunderers,  and  bitterly  opposed  to  the  Roman 
church,  which  they  called  the  Synagogue  of  Satan.  They  condemned 
its  worship  of  holy  images  as  idolatry,  denied  the  power  of  its  sacra- 
ments, scoffed  at  the  Trinity,  insisted  on  reading  the  Bible  for 
themselves,  and  revived  the  old  Gnostic  belief  that  the  Jehovah  wor- 
shipped by  the  Roman  church  was  a  demonic  demiurge  who  created 
the  world  of  matter  to  entrap  souls  in  wickedness.  Pope  Alexander  III 
anathematized  the  Catharan  communities  and  sent  ecclesiastical 
judges  to  investigate  their  offenses  in  1 163.  Of  these  judges,  the  word 
"inquisitor"  was  used  for  the  first  time.10 

In  1209  Pope  Innocent  II  preached  a  great  crusade  against  the 
French  rebels.  This  has  gone  down  in  history  as  the  Albigensian 
crusade,  one  of  the  bloodiest  chapters  in  Christianity's  past.11  Half  of 
France  was  exterminated.  When  the  papal  legate  was  asked  how 
heretics  were  to  be  distinguished  from  the  faithful,  he  replied,  "Kill 
them  all;  God  will  know  his  own." 12 

Soon  the  legate  was  able  to  report  that  in  Beziers  alone,  "nearly 
twenty  thousand  human  beings  perished  by  the  sword.  And  after  the 
massacre  the  town  was  plundered  and  burnt,  and  the  revenge  of  God 
seemed  to  rage  over  it  in  a  wonderful  manner."  The  killing  of 
heretics  went  on  continually  for  twenty  years,  and  it  has  been  estimated 
that  more  than  a  million  were  slaughtered.13 


This  was  more  than  a  police  action  against  heresy.  It  was  the                               Cu  Chulainn 
destruction  of  a  whole  civilization  that  had  the  misfortune  to  be  more 
advanced  than  the  rest  of  Europe.  

In  the  twelfth  century,  the  south  of  France  had  been  the  most  civilized 
land  in  Europe.  There  commerce,  industry,  art,  science,  had  been  far 
in  advance  of  the  age.  The  cities  had  won  virtual  self-government,  were 
proud  of  their  wealth  and  strength,  jealous  of  their  liberties,  and  self- 
sacrificing  in  their  patriotism.  The  nobles,  for  the  most  part,  were 
cultivated  men,  poets  themselves  or  patrons  of  poetry,  who  had  learned 
that  their  prosperity  depended  on  the  prosperity  of  their  subjects,  and  that 
municipal  liberties  were  a  safeguard  rather  than  a  menace  to  the  wise 
ruler.  The  Crusaders  came,  and  their  unfinished  work  was  taken  up  and 
executed  to  the  bitter  end  by  the  Inquisition.  It  left  a  ruined  and 
impoverished  country,  with  shattered  industries  and  a  failing  commerce. 
The  native  nobles  were  broken  by  confiscation  and  replaced  by 
strangers A  people  of  rare  gifts  had  been  tortured,  decimated,  humili- 
ated, despoiled. . . .  The  precocious  civilization  which  had  promised  to 
lead  Europe  in  the  path  of  culture  was  gone,  and  to  Italy  was  transmitted 
the  honour  of  the  Renaissance. H 

Catholic  writers  made  many  efforts  to  justify  the  destruction. 

Apologists  like  Pierre  des  Vaux-de-Cernay  used  vituperation,  calling  the 

Catharan  opinions  "this  detestable  pest ...  the  poison  of  superstitious 

infidelity."  He  said  Toulouse  was  "marvelously  and  miserably  infected 

with  this  plague  . . .  almost  all  the  barons  of  Provence  had  become 

harborers  and  defenders  of  heretics."  In  the  19th  century,  Abbe 

Vacandard  said,  "The  Church,  after  all,  was  only  defending  herself. 

The  Cathari  sought  to  wound  her  mortally  by  attacking  her  doctrine, 

her  hierarchy  and  her  apostolicity.  She  would  have  been  ruined  if 

their  perfidious  insinuations,  which  brought  violent  disturbance  into 

men's  minds,  had  prevailed  in  the  end." 15  It  has  ever  been  the 

church's  habit  to  regard  any  skepticism  concerning  its  pronouncements 

as  "violent  disturbance";  but  of  course,  all  the  bloodletting  was  in 

vain.  Skepticism  did  prevail  in  the  end. 

1.0xenstierna,76.  2.  H.  Smith,  252-53.  3.  Reinach,  295.  4.  H.  Smith,  253. 

5.  Briffault  3, 392.  6.  Reinach,  294.  7.  Lea  unabridged,  656-60.  8.  H.  Smith,  251. 

9. Campbell, CM., 629.  10.  H.Smith, 254-55.  ll.Oldenbourg,  M.M. 

12.  Campbell,  Oc.M.,  499.  13.  H.  Smith,  257.  14.  Briffault  3,487-88. 


Cu  Chulainn 

Celtic  dying  god,  a  son  of  God,  born  of  a  virgin,  reincarnated  as  both 
Father  and  Son.  It  was  said  of  him  that  he  was  "begotten  by  a  man  that 
was  not  a  man;  his  father  was  reared  by  his  mother  as  a  child,  a  child 
which  died  and  did  not  die." J  In  other  words,  he  was  a  pre-Christian 
Christ  figure,  God-begotten  on  the  "Mother  of  God,"  of  one 
substance  with  his  own  Father. 

Cu  Chulainn  received  the  death-curse  of  the  Goddess  Macha,  and 
died  bound  to  a  sacred  pillar,  pierced  by  arrows,  his  blood  fertilizing 


Cuckold  the  earth.  Other  Celtic  heroes  died  the  same  way.  Their  idols  were 

sometimes  interpreted  as  images  of  St.  Sebastian,  now  officially 

^^^^^^^^^^^_      viewed  as  an  over-hasty  canonization  of  a  Gaulish  heathen  savior.2 

Cu  Chulainn  received  his  education  in  battle  skills  from  Skadi,  or 
Scatha,  the  same  northern  death-goddess  as  the  Queen  of  Skye.  His 
destiny  or  "weird"  was  to  kill  his  rival  on  the  "precursor  day  of  spring," 
so  the  shedding  of  blood  would  "allow  spring  to  enter."3  The  same 
idea  of  bloodshed  to  facilitate  the  return  of  spring  is  found  in  Teutonic 
myths  of  Skadi.4 

Cu  means  "dog,"  a  common  title  of  Celtic  chieftains  (as  in 
Cunobelin)  identified  with  the  underworld  Lord  of  Death.  Like 
Egypt's  Anubis,  the  dead  hero  might  become  the  canine  gatekeeper 
charged  with  admitting  souls  to  paradise,  as  shown  on  the  Gundes- 
trup  Cauldron.5  The  dog  represented  reincarnation.  So  did  Cu 
Chulainn,  who  was  promised  that  "his  rebirth  would  be  of  himself." 
He  was  sent  to  Emania,  the  realm  of  the  dead  in  the  moon.6  He  may 
have  been  the  original  of  the  British  legend  that  the  man  in  the  moon 
is  really  a  dog,  who  acts  as  a  messenger  of  death.7 

The  virgin  mother  of  Cu  Chulainn  conceived  him  by  eating  his 
soul  in  the  form  of  a  fly.  This  Celtic  soul-symbol  originated  in  the 
Middle  East,  where  the  Lord  of  Death  was  Baal-Zebub  (Beelzebub), 
Lord  of  Flies.  Like  most  pagan  gods,  Cu  Chulainn  was  a  shape- 
shifter.  He  could  be  an  insect,  animal,  or  man  at  different  stages  in  his 
life  cycle.  Such  changes  from  one  shape  to  another  were  based  on  the 
ancient  Indo-European  idea  of  metempsychosis.  The  Protean  hero 
even  adapted  his  shape  to  Christianity;  the  medieval  Irish  insisted  that 
he  was  an  avatar  of  Christ.8 

Later  Irish  writers  pretended  that  Cu  Chulainn  was  not  ignomini- 
ously  trussed  up  to  his  pillar  as  a  sacrifice,  in  the  manner  of  the  old 
gods.  They  thought  it  important  to  prove  that  he  fell  in  battle.  There- 
fore they  invented  the  legend  that,  wounded  and  knowing  himself 
doomed,  Cu  Chulainn  tied  himself  to  the  sacred  pillar  so  he  couldn't 
fall  down  before  his  enemies,  who  were  piercing  him  with  arrows,  but 
rather  "died  with  his  honor  unimpaired."9 

l.Rees,235.  2.  Spence,  85;  Attwater,  304.  3.  Goodrich,  187,  216. 

4.  Oxenstierna,  213.  5.  Cavendish,  V.H.H.,  49.  6.  Spence,  146. 

7.  Baring-Gould,  C.M.M.A.,  197.  8.  Spence,  95-96,  108.  9.  Larousse,  111. 


Derived  from  "cuckoo,"  the  bird  of  May,  anciently  sacred  to  the 
promiscuous  May-games  that  medieval  Europe  inherited  from  pagan- 
ism.1 The  man  who  became  a  cuckoo,  or  cuckold,  was  one  who 
didn't  care  whether  his  wife  was  faithful  or  not,  for  both  of  them 
attended  the  Maytime  festivities  when  ritual  promiscuity  was  the 
rule — or  fertility  charm — as  late  as  the  16th  century.2  The  season  of 
"wearing  of  the  green"  in  honor  of  the  reborn  vegetation  was 


announced  by  the  cuckoo's  singing  "from  every  holt  and  heath,"  as  Cunt 

Chaucer  put  it;  and  marriage  bonds  were  temporarily  in  abeyance. 

The  cuckold's  horns  descended  from  another  pagan  sign,  that  of  ^_^^^^^^^_ 

the  Horned  God,  sacrificed  as  a  stag,  goat,  or  ram  at  the  spring  feasts. 
Pagan  priests  used  to  wear  the  horns  of  the  sacrificed  animal  on  their 
heads;  and  horned  masks  or  headdresses  were  commonly  worn  by 
participants  in  the  rite,  in  the  god's  honor.  A  16th-century  writer 
therefore  described  the  cuckold  as  "cornute,"  that  is,  "as  soundly 
armed  for  the  head,  as  either  Capricorn,  or  the  stoutest  horned  sign  in 
the  Zodiac."3  See  Horns. 

1.  Potter  &  Sargent,  80.  2.  Frazer,  G.B.,  142.  3.  Hazlitt,  160. 


Derivative  of  the  Oriental  Great  Goddess  as  Cunti,  or  Kunda,  the 
Yoni  of  the  Uni-verse.1  From  the  same  root  came  county,  kin,  and  kind 
(Old  English  cyn,  Gothic  kuni).  Related  forms  were  Latin  cunnus, 
Middle  English  cunte,  Old  Norse  and  Frisian  kunta,  Basque  cuna. 
Other  cognates  are  "cunabula,"  a  cradle,  or  earliest  abode;  "Cun- 
ina,"  a  Roman  Goddess  who  protected  children  in  the  cradle; 
"cunctipotent,"  all-powerful  (i.e.,  having  cunt-magic);  "cunicle,"  a 
hole  or  passage;  "cuniculate,"  penetrated  by  a  passage;  "cundy,"  a 
coverted  culvert;  also  cunning,  kenning,  and  ken:  knowledge,  learn- 
ing, insight,  remembrance,  wisdom.  Cunt  is  "not  slang,  dialect  or  any 
marginal  form,  but  a  true  language  word,  and  of  the  oldest  stock."2 

"Kin"  meant  not  only  matrilineal  blood  relations,  but  also  a  cleft  or 
crevice,  the  Goddess's  genital  opening.  A  Saharan  tribe  called  Kun- 
tahs  traced  their  descent  from  this  holy  place.3  Indian  "kundas"  were 
their  mothers'  natural  children,  begotten  out  of  wedlock  as  gifts  of  the 
Goddess  Kunda.4  Of  old  the  name  applied  to  girls,  as  in  China  where 
girls  were  once  considered  children  of  their  mothers  only,  having  no 
natural  connection  with  fathers.5 

In  ancient  writings,  the  word  for  "cunt"  was  synonymous  with 
"woman,"  though  not  in  the  insulting  modern  sense.  An  Egyptolo- 
gist was  shocked  to  find  the  maxims  of  Ptah-Hotep  "used  for  'woman'  a 
term  that  was  more  than  blunt,"  though  its  indelicacy  was  not  in  the 
eye  of  the  ancient  beholder,  only  in  that  of  the  modern  scholar.6 

Medieval  clergymen  similarly  perceived  obscenity  in  female-geni- 
tal shrines  of  the  pagans:  holy  caves,  wells,  groves.  Any  such  place 
was  called  cunnus  diaboli,  "devilish  cunt."  Witches  who  worshipped 
there  sometimes  assumed  the  name  of  the  place,  like  the  male  witch 
Johannes  Cuntius  mentioned  by  Thomas  More.7  "Under  painful  cir- 
cumstances" this  witch  died  at  the  hands  of  witch  hunters,  but  it  was 
said  he  was  resurrected,  and  came  back  to  earth  as  a  lecherous  incubus.8 

Sacred  places  identified  with  the  world-cunt  sometimes  embar- 
rassed Victorian  scholars  who  failed  to  understand  their  earlier 


Cupid  meaning.  A.H.  Clough  became  a  laughing-stock  among  Gaelic-speak- 

Curse,  Mother's  ing  students  when  he  published  a  poem  called  Toper-na-Fuosich, 

^^^^^^^^^^^m      literally  "bearded  well,"  a  Gaelic  place-name  for  a  cunt-shrine.  The 
synonym  "twat"  was  ignorantly  used  by  another  Victorian  poet, 
Robert  Browning,  in  the  closing  lines  of  his  Pippa  Passes: 

Then,  owls  and  bats, 

Cowls  and  twats, 

Monks  and  nuns,  in  a  cloisters  moods, 

Adjourn  to  the  oak-stump  pantry! 

Editors  of  the  Oxford  English  Dictionary  hesitantly  asked 

Browning  where  he  learned  the  word.  He  said  it  came  from  a  bawdy 

broadside  poem  of  1659:  "They  talked  of  his  having  a  Cardinal's  Hat; 

They'd  send  him  as  soon  an  Old  Nun's  Twat."  Browning  thought  the 

word  meant  a  wimple,  or  other  headgear  corresponding  to  "hat."9 

1.  G.R.  Scott,  188.  2.  Dames,  110-14.  3.  Briffault  1, 604. 

4.  Mahanirvanatantra,  289.  5.  Murstein,473.  6.  Erman,  61.  7.  Summers,  V,  179. 

8.  Hazlitt,  211.  9.Perrin,217. 


Roman  name  for  the  god  of  erotic  love,  Greek  Eros,  Hindu  Kama. 
Cupid  was  the  son  of  Venus  and  Mercury  (Aphrodite  and  Hermes), 
and  was  therefore  a  "Herm-Aphrodite,"  signifying  sexual  union. 

In  Christian  usage,  the  ancient  significance  of  sexual  desire  was 
confused  with  desire  for  money,  hence  the  modern  "cupidity,"  which 
used  to  mean  "lust"  but  now  means  greed.  In  the  same  way,  Latin 
caritas  was  altered  from  sensual  or  sexual  giving  to  the  modern 
"charity,"  giving  of  money. 

Renaissance  art  made  emanations  of  Cupid  into  amoretti,  "little 
loves,"  shown  as  winged  babies.  But  ancient  talismans  of  Cupid  were 
not  babies;  they  were  winged  phalli  of  bronze,  ivory,  or  wood,  which 
gave  rise  to  an  Italian  slang  term  for  the  penis,  uccello,  "little  bird." ' 

1.  Young,  74. 

Curse,  Mother's 

In  ancient  Asiatic  belief,  a  mother's  curse  meant  certain  death.  All 
death  was  brought  about  by  the  Goddess's  word  of  destruction,  as  all 
birth  was  brought  about  by  her  word  of  creation.  By  virtue  of 
motherhood,  any  woman  could  tap  the  verbal  power  of  the  Goddess. 
The  Markandaya  Purana  says,  "for  all  curses  there  is  some  remedy; 
but  there  is  nothing  anywhere  that  can  dispel  the  curse  of  those  who 
have  been  cursed  by  a  mother." J  Similarly,  the  biblical  Hannah 
rejoiced  when  she  became  a  mother,  saying,  "My  mouth  is  enlarged 
over  mine  enemies"  (1  Samuel  2:1)  because  maternity  gave  her 
curses  an  irresistible  power. 


Homer  tells  the  story  of  Meleager,  cursed  by  his  mother  for 
murdering  her  brothers.  Falling  on  her  knees,  she  knocked  the  earth 
with  her  fists  and  called  upon  the  underground  Goddess.  "And  the 
Fury  that  walks  in  the  dark  and  has  inexorable  thoughts  heard  her 
from  Erebus."2  The  Fury  told  Meleager's  mother  to  burn  his  soul  in 
the  form  of  a  wand,  so  he  was  stricken  with  a  fever,  and  soon  died.3 

Witchcraft  of  this  sort  was  not  even  necessary — the  curse  alone 
could  kill.  The  Greek  word  for  the  effect  of  a  mother's  curse  was 
miasma,  a  kind  of  spiritual  pollution  bringing  slow  but  sure  destruction. 
Miasma  could  pursue  members  of  a  clan  for  many  generations.  The 
tragic  family  history  of  Orestes  might  be  traced  to  a  curse  laid  by  the 
Goddess  Artemis  herself  on  his  ancestor  Atreus,  who  dared  to 
withhold  the  golden  fleece  of  a  sacrificial  lamb  she  had  sent,  using  it  to 
confirm  his  right  to  rule.4 

Gods  launched  curses  too,  and  some  of  them  were  spectacular,  like 
those  with  which  Yahweh  threatened  all  who  disobeyed  him:  a 
combination  of  pestilence,  fever,  consumption,  inflammation,  blasting, 
mildew,  extreme  burning,  emerods  (hemorrhoids),  the  scab,  the  itch, 
the  botch  of  Egypt,  madness,  blindness,  slavery,  great  plagues  of  long 
continuance,  and  barrenness  of  the  land  (Deuteronomy  28).  How- 
ever, the  gods'  curses  seemed  not  to  arouse  as  much  terror  as  those  of 
Goddess  or  Mother. 

The  terrible  vehicle  of  the  feminine  curse  was  menstrual  blood, 
still  called  The  Curse.  To  "damn"  has  been  linked  with  the  Hebrew 
dam,  "blood,"  specifically  mother-blood,  the  fluid  of  the  womb,  an- 
ciently thought  to  create  one's  very  soul — and  destroy  it.  Dam  was 
also  synonymous  with  "mother"  (ma-dam,  my  mother).  Elder  women 
past  menopause  were  thought  to  be  the  most  efficient  cursers,  on  the 
ancient  theory  that  their  "wise  blood"  was  retained  in  their  bodies, 
giving  them  numinous  power  to  make  their  words  come  true.5  This 
was  why  medieval  Europe  believed  any  destructive  charm  having 
menstrual  blood  as  one  of  its  ingredients  must  be  irresistible,  and  why 
elder  women  were  viewed  as  prototypical  witches,  their  words  or  even 
their  glances  heavy  with  dread. 

Fathers  of  the  church  even  wooed  converts  with  the  assurance  that 
the  Christian  faith  was  strong  enough  to  overcome  a  mother's  curse, 
the  most  powerful  curse  known  to  man.  St.  Augustine  claimed  that 
some  children  cursed  by  their  mother  were  afflicted  by  constant 
weakness  and  tremors,  but  St.  Stephen  converted  them  to  Christianity, 
and  they  were  completely  cured  of  the  effects  of  the  curse.6 

Eastern  sages  believed  the  feminine  power  of  the  curse  must  be 
allayed  not  so  much  by  opposing  it  with  a  patriarchal  religion,  as  by 
treating  women  well,  so  they  would  not  be  inclined  to  use  their 
destructive  power.  The  Laws  of  Manu  said: 

Women  must  be  honored  and  adorned  by  their  fathers,  brothers,  hus- 
bands, and  brothers-in-law,  who  desire  their  own  welfare.  Where 
women  are  honored,  there  the  gods  are  pleased,  but  where  they  are  not 

Curse,  Mother's 

Laws  of  Manu 

Post-Vedic  treatise  on 
holy  law,  composed  or 
collected  some  time 
between  the  2nd 
century  B.C.  and  the 
2nd  century  a.d. 


Cut hbert ,  Saint  honored,  no  sacred  rite  yields  rewards.  Where  the  female  relations  live 

in  grief,  the  family  soon  wholly  perishes;  but  that  family  where  they  are 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^  not  unhappy  ever  prospers.  The  houses  on  which  female  relations,  not 

being  duly  honored,  pronounce  a  curse,  perish  completely,  as  if  destroyed 
by  magic. 7 

This  advice  came  from  the  place  northern  Aryans  called  Mut- 
spellheim,  the  Home  of  the  Mother's  Curse,  in  "the  hot  lands  of  the 
south."  According  to  the  Scandinavian  prophecy  of  doomsday,  the 
Mutspell  would  fall  upon  the  violent  patriarchal  gods  who  ignored 
ancient  tribal  bonds  and  rules  of  morality,  and  instituted  cruel 
warfare.  The  result  of  the  Mother's  Curse  would  be  the  death  of  all 
gods,  their  Gotterdammerung  or  Going-Into-the-Shadow;  thus  it 
seemed  the  Mother's  word  of  destruction  meant  the  end  of  the  world.8 

Christian  Gnostic  writings  reveal  the  same  belief  in  a  world- 
destroying  curse  from  a  Great  Mother  disgusted  with  the  cruel 
behavior  of  the  gods  she  created.  In  her  anger,  the  Goddess  would  send 
a  great  power  from  the  place  "where  the  firmament  of  woman  is 
situated,"  the  Gnostic  equivalent  of  Mutspellheim.  "Then  she  will  drive 
out  the  gods  of  Chaos  whom  she  had  created  together  with  the  first 
Father.  She  will  cast  them  down  to  the  abyss.  They  will  be  wiped  out  by 
their  own  injustice."9 

Myths  in  general  suggest  that  a  mother's  curse  was  the  necessary 
instrument  of  destruction  for  any  god,  even  a  Savior-son,  most  of 
whom  were  solemnly  cursed  before  immolation.10  Since  a  mother's 
curse  was  immutable,  no  guilt  accrued  to  the  executioners  who 
carried  out  sacrificial  killings  in  ancient  dramas  of  death  and  resurrec- 
tion. Mythology  bears  out  the  archetypal  idea  that  one  who  gives 
birth  has  unlimited  power  over  the  life  so  given,  and  may  retain  control 
of  that  life's  duration. 

As  a  rule  therefore,  death  curses  usually  employed  female  symbol- 
ism. Typical  was  the  curse  of  the  "black  fast,"  utilizing  a  black  hen, 
once  sacred  to  the  Queen  of  the  Shades  as  destructive  twin  of  the 
Mother  of  the  World  Egg.  The  curse  was  accomplished  by  the 
operator  and  the  black  hen  fasting  together,  every  Friday  for  nine  weeks 
(the  Goddess's  day  and  number).  After  this,  an  accursed  one  was  sure 
to  die.11 

1.  O'Flaherty,  68.  2.  Cavendish,  P.E.,  122.  3.  Graves,  CM.  1,  266. 

4.  Graves,  CM.  2, 44.  5.  Gifford,  26.  6.  de  Voragine,  57.  7.  Bullough,  232-33. 

8.  Turville-Petre,  281-84.  9.  Robinson,  178.  10.  Budge,  CE.  2,  253. 


Cuthbert,  Saint 

Once  a  pagan  Lord  of  the  Hunt  with  a  pilgrimage  center  at  Durham, 
formerly  Duirholm,  "Meadow  of  the  Deer." 

In  1 104,  Durham  Cathedral  was  erected  over  the  god's  old  shrine. 
It  housed  the  undecaying  corpse  of  Cuthbert,  whose  sainthood  was 


proven  by  his  incorruptibility.  He  was  periodically  displayed,  and  always 
pronounced  remarkably  fresh.  His  remains  were  last  viewed  in  1827 
and  found  to  be  as  plump  and  rosy  as  ever — almost  as  if  he  were  a 
waxwork,  if  it  were  possible  to  suspect  the  church  of  perpetrating 
such  a  hoax. 

Oddly  enough,  while  his  incorruptible  body  lay  in  Durham  Cathe- 
dral, St.  Cuthbert  also  lived  on  at  the  bottom  of  the  sea,  as  a  marine 
smith-god  who  forged  beads  for  rosaries  in  his  ocean  cave.  Crinoid  shells 
washed  up  on  Northumbrian  beaches  after  storms  were  known  as  St. 
Cuthbert's  Beads.1 

There  was  also  a  St.  Cuthbert's  Well,  located  near  the  famous 
Eden  Hall,  whose  "luck"  talisman  was  a  sacred  chalice  inherited  from 
the  fairies.2  The  waters  of  St.  Cuthbert's  Well  were  credited  with  the 
usual  miraculous  powers  of  healing  and  preserving  health. 

1.  Brewster,  396-97.  2.  Hazlitt,  374. 



Great  Mother  of  the  Gods  from  Ida — Magna  Mater  Deum  Idea — 
brought  to  Rome  from  Phrygia  in  204  B.C.  Her  triumphal  procession 
was  "later  glorified  by  marvelous  legends,  and  the  poets  told  of 
edifying  miracles  that  had  occurred  during  Cybele's  voyage." l 

Her  holy  aniconic  image  was  carried  to  Rome  by  order  of  the 
Cumaean  Sybil,  a  personification  of  the  same  cave-dwelling  Goddess 
herself.  As  the  Great  Mother  of  all  Asia  Minor,  she  was  worshipped 
especially  on  Mt.  Ida,  Mt.  Sipylus,  Cyzicus,  Sardis,  and  Pessinus  in 

Her  festivals  were  called  ludi,  "games."3  A  highlight  of  her 
worship  was  the  Taurobolium,  baptism  in  the  blood  of  a  sacred  bull, 
who  represented  her  dying-god  consort,  Attis.  Her  temple  stood  on  the 
Vatican,  where  St.  Peter's  basilica  stands  today,  up  to  the  4th  century 
a.d.  when  Christians  took  it  over.4  She  was  one  of  the  leading  deities  of 
Rome  in  the  heyday  of  the  mystery  cults,  along  with  Hecate  and 
Demeter  of  Eleusis.5 

Other  names  for  Cybele  assimilated  her  to  every  significant  form 
of  the  Great  Goddess.  She  was  the  Berecynthian  Mother  (genetrix 
Berecynthia).  She  was  Rhea  Lobrine,  Goddess  of  sacred  caves,  known 
as  her  "marriage  bowers."7  She  was  called  Augusta,  the  Great  One; 
Alma,  the  Nourishing  One;  Sanctissima,  the  Most  Holy  One.  Roman 
emperors  like  Augustus,  Claudius,  and  Antoninus  Pius  regarded  her 
as  the  supreme  deity  of  the  empire.  Augustus  established  his  home 
facing  her  temple,  and  looked  upon  his  wife,  the  empress  Livia 
Augusta,  as  an  earthly  incarnation  of  her.8  The  emperor  Julian  wrote  an 
impassioned  address  to  her: 

Who  is  then  the  Mother  of  the  Gods?  She  is  the  source  of  the  intellectual 
and  creative  gods,  who  in  their  turn  guide  the  visible  gods;  she  is  both 

Variations  of 
Cybele's  name — 
Kubaba,  Kuba, 
Kube — have  been 
linked  with  the 
Ka'aba  stone  at  Mecca, 
a  meteoric  "cube" 
that  bore  the  Goddess's 
symbol  and  was  once 
known  as  the  Old 


Cyboread  the  mother  and  the  spouse  of  mighty  Zeus;  she  came  into  being  next  to 

Cynosure  and  together  with  the  great  creator;  she  is  in  control  of  every  form  of 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^  life,  and  the  cause  of  all  generation;  she  easily  brings  to  perfection  all 

things  that  are;  she  is  the  motherless  maiden,  enthroned  at  the  side  of 
Zeus,  and  in  very  truth  is  the  Mother  of  all  the  Gods. 9 

Fathers  of  the  Christian  church  vehemently  disagreed.  St.  Augus- 
tine called  Cybele  a  harlot  mother,  "the  mother,  not  of  the  gods,  but 
of  the  demons."10 

One  of  her  names,  Antaea,  made  her  the  mythical  mother  of  the 
earth-giant  Antaeus,  who  was  invincible  as  long  as  his  feet  remained 
in  contact  with  his  Mother's  body,  the  earth.  Heracles  conquered  him 
by  holding  him  up  in  the  air.  Churchmen  believed  the  powers  of 
witches  came  from  the  same  sort  of  contact  with  Mother  Earth. 
Arresting  officers  often  carried  witches  to  prison  in  a  large  basket,  so 
their  feet  would  not  touch  the  ground.11 

There  was  a  Christian  sect  founded  in  the  2nd  century  a.d.  by 
Montanus  (Mountain  man),  a  priest  of  Cybele,  who  identified  Attis 
with  Christ.  Montanus  maintained  that  women  were  agents  of  the 
Goddess,  and  could  preach  and  prophesy  as  well  as  men.  This 
contradicted  the  orthodox  Pauline  sect,  which  followed  St.  Paul's  rule 
that  women  must  never  speak  publicly  on  holy  subjects.12  During  the 
4th  century,  Montanist  Christianity  was  declared  a  heresy,  and  many  of 
its  adherents  were  slain.  Some  Montanists  in  Asia  Minor  were  locked 
in  their  churches  and  burned  alive.13 

1.  Cumont,  O.R.R.P.,  47  2.  Encyc.  Brit.,  "Great  Mother  of  the  Gods." 

3.  James,  246.  4.  Clodd,  79;  Fra/.er,  G.B.,  408.  5.  Angus,  143. 

6.  Vermaseren,  22;  Harding,  41.7.  Gaster,  609. 

8.  Vermaseren,  27,  53,  83,  85,  177-78.  9.  Vermaseren,  86-87. 

10.  Vermaseren,  181.  11.  Robbins,  334;  Lea  unabridged,  814.  12.  Reinach,  278. 

13.  Chamberlin,  A.M.,  ch.  1. 


"Queen  of  the  North,"  the  mother-bride  of  Judas,  whose  myth  was 
similar  to  those  of  Oedipus,  Osiris,  and  other  mother-marrying  heroes. 
See  Judas. 


"Dog's  Tail,"  the  kunos  oura,  name  given  by  the  Greek  sect  of 
Cynics  or  "Doglike  Ones"  to  the  pole  star,  which  they  believed  would 
move  from  its  place  at  the  still  point  of  the  turning  heavens  when 
doomsday  was  near.1  This,  and  the  fact  that  the  Dog's  Tail  was  the 
prime  navigational  star,  made  it  the  "Cynosure  of  all  eyes."  See  Dog. 

1 .  Potter  &  Sargent,  174. 


Cypria  Cypria 

Epithet  of  Aphrodite,  "the  Cyprian,"  whose  temple  was  founded  at  Cyrene 

Paphos  on  the  isle  of  Cyprus.  Because  of  the  island's  many  copper  h^^^^bmbh^^^ 
mines,  copper  (cypros)  was  sacred  to  Aphrodite. 


Amazon  queen  who  founded  the  city  bearing  her  name  on  the  coast 
of  Libya,  in  Marmarica,  territory  named  for  one  of  the  oldest  forms  of 
the  Aryan  Sea-goddess.1  Cyrene  was  the  home  of  seductive  "sirens," 
whose  verbal  spells  Homer  described  as  highly  dangerous  to  sailors. 

1.  Graves,  W.G.,  438. 











diana,  the  Queen  of 
Heaven,  here  shown 
as  the  Many-Breasted 
Artemis,  as  she  was 
known  to  her  cult  at 
Ephesus.  This 
ancient  sculpture 
appears  at  the  Villa 
Albani  in  Rome. 

The  demon  Pazuzu,  one 
of  the  Akkadian  evil 
spirits,  bringer  of  fierce 
storms  and  malaria, 
and  terror  to  pregnant 
women.  Bronze,  5% 
inches  high. 
Mesopotamia,  500- 

The  devil,  as  a  cast  iron 
bootjack,  found  in 
Massachusetts.  Mid- 
nineteenth  century; 
lOVi  inches  high. 

Daeira  Daeira 




"Goddess,"  a  title  of  Demeter  as  the  Wise  One  of  the  Sea,  and 
mother  of  King  Eleusis  (Advent).  The  title  carried  the  same  connota- 
tions as  "God"  today. 


Philistine  sea  god,  one  of  Yahweh's  leading  enemies  (Judges  16:23). 
He  appeared  as  a  merman,  fish-man,  or  serpent-man.  He  was  mated  to 
Atargatis,  the  Philistine  form  of  Astarte.  Since  she  was  a  Mistress  of 
Earth  and  Sea  like  her  Mycenaean  twin  Demeter,  her  consort  also 
patronized  both  farming  and  fishing.  In  Canaan,  he  was  the  "grain 
god"  Dagan,  father  of  Baal,  mated  to  Anath,  the  Canaanite  version  of 
the  same  Great  Mother.  On  account  of  the  bad  publicity  given  him 
in  the  Bible,  he  naturally  became  a  leading  demon  of  the  Christian  hell. 


Iranian  topless  "tower  of  silence,"  once  used  to  dispose  of  dead 
bodies,  which  were  dropped  in  and  left  for  the  vultures  to  carry  to  the 
sky  (see  Vulture).  Large  dakhmas  still  stand  today.  The  adventure  of 
Sinbad  the  Sailor  in  the  charnel  valley,  where  supernatural  birds  carried 
off  gobbets  of  meat,  may  have  descended  from  a  legendary  sage's 
sojourn  in  a  dakhma  as  a  ceremonial  death-and-rebirth. 


"Skywalker,"  a  Tantric  priestess,  embodying  the  spirit  of  Kali  Ma  as 
an  angel  of  death.1  Dakinis  were  usually  elder  women,  but  sometimes 
young  women  impersonating  the  divine  Shakti  who  took  the  last 
breath  of  the  enlightened  sage  with  a  kiss  of  peace.  Dakinis  attended  the 
dying,  embracing  and  comforting  them  in  their  last  moments.  But 
there  were  also  "fierce  dakinis,"  representing  violent  or  painful  forms  of 

Like  western  witches,  dakinis  held  their  meetings  in  cemeteries  or 
cremation  grounds,  having  charge  of  funeral  rites  and  the  preparation 
of  dead  bodies.  See  Death. 

1.  Tatz  &  Kent,  148.  2.  Bardo  Thodol,  128. 

var.  Danu,  Danuna,  Dana 


Eponymous  Great  Mother  of  the  Danes  and  many  other  peoples, 
such  as  the  Danaans,  the  Danaids,  the  biblical  Danites,  and  the  Irish 
Tuatha  De  Danann,  "people  of  the  Goddess  Dana." l  The  Russians 

called  her  Dennitsa,  "Greatest  of  all  Goddesses."  A  medieval  Russian 
exorcism  said:  "In  the  morning  let  us  rise  and  pray  to  God  and 

As  Danu-Ana,  or  Anu,  she  led  the  Irish  trinity  of  Fates,  collective- 
■  the  Morrigan.  Mountains  in  Kerry  are  still  named  after  her  breasts, 
the  Paps  of  Anu.5  Under  the  name  of  Don  she  was  masculinized  as  a 
"king"  of  Dublin  in  late  Irish  legend;  but  the  same  "king"  was  also 
called  Mother  of  the  Gods.6  Sometimes  the  Irish  called  her  Domnu,  a 
mother  Goddess  personifying  the  Deep.7 

Classical  Greek  mythology  humanized  the  Goddess  Danae,  in 
much  the  same  way  as  the  Bible  humanized  Earth  Mother  Eve;  the 
two  were  the  same  deity,  fructified  by  the  Heaven-father's  seminal  rain. 
The  Hellenic  Danae  was  a  virgin  princess  impregnated  by  Zeus's 
shower  of  golden  rain — that  is,  urine,  to  which  primitives  sometimes 
attributed  the  same  reproductive  power  as  semen.  As  result  of  this 
beneficial  moistening,  Danae  bore  the  hero  Perseus,  who  annoyed 
fathers  of  the  Christian  church  by  being  as  verifiably  god-begotten 
and  virgin-born  and  their  own  savior.9  But  Danae,  like  Eve,  was  really 
another  name  for  the  universal  Triple  Goddess,  also  called  Dam-kina 
by  the  Sumerians,  Dinah  by  the  Hebrews,  and  Danu  or  Dunnu  in 
Babylon.  The  Greeks  knew  of  three  Danaids,  known  as  Telchines  or 
"Enchanters,"  who  founded  the  three  chief  cities  of  Rhodes.10 

Writers  of  the  Old  Testament  disliked  the  Danites,  whom  they 
called  serpents  (Genesis  49:17).  Nevertheless,  they  adopted  Dan-El 
or  Daniel,  a  Phoenician  god  of  divination,  and  transformed  him  into  a 
Hebrew  prophet.  His  magic  powers  like  those  of  the  Danites  emanat- 
ed from  the  Goddess  Dana  and  her  sacred  serpents.  He  served  as  court 
astrologer  and  dream-interpreter  for  both  the  Persian  king  Cyrus,  and 
the  Babylonian  king  Nebuchadnezzar  (Daniel  1:21,  2:1),  indicating 
that  "Daniel"  was  not  a  personal  name  but  a  title,  like  the  Celtic  one: 
"a  person  of  the  Goddess  Dana." 

1.  Graves,  G.M.  1,  204.  Lamusse,  225.  2.  Graves,  W.G.,  54.  3.  Rees,  53. 
4.  Larousse,  285.  5.  Graves,  W.G.,  409.  6.  Squire,  372.  7.  Squire,  48. 
8.  Briffault  3, 71.  9.  H.  Smith,  183.  10.  Graves,  G.M.  1, 203-4. 


Pre-Hellenic  Aegean 
tribes  called  her 
Danuna,  Universal 
Mother.2  The  rivers  of 
Amazon  country 
were  named  after  her — 
Danube,  Don, 
Dnieper — because  she 
"Waters."  To  the 
Hindus  she  was 
"Waters  of  Heaven," 
mother  of  the  Vedic 

In  Saxon  myth, 
Danu-Ana  became 
Black  Annis,  or 
Anna  of  the  Angles,  or 
the  Blue  Hag,  or 
Angurboda,  mother  of 
Hel.  An  ancient 
cave-shrine  at  Dane's 
Hill  in  Leicestershire 
was  her  dwelling  place, 
known  as  Black 
Annis's  Bower.8 


"Laurel,"  the  plant  of  prophecy  chewed  by  the  Goddess's  priestesses 
in  the  vale  of  Tempe,  until  Apollo's  cult  replaced  hers,  and  restricted 
laurel-chewing  to  the  Delphic  Pythoness.1  The  Goddess's  original 
name  was  Daphoene,  "Bloody  One,"  in  early  times  when  her  Maenads 
were  still  performing  blood  sacrifices. 

Orgiastic  Daphne  entered  classical  mythology  as  a  purified  virgin 
who  was  saved  from  rape  by  Apollo  through  a  transformation  into  a 
laurel  tree  in  the  nick  of  time.  The  myth  seems  to  have  been  suggested 
by  an  icon  showing  the  Goddess's  face  looking  down  from  the 
branches  of  a  laurel  tree  upon  the  sacred  king  immolated  at  her  feet. 


Dark  Age  Laurel  remained  the  plant  of  inspiration  and  poetic  frenzy.  Laurel 

crowns  were  given  to  the  best  poets,  who  were  then  called  "laureate"- 
^^^^^^^^^^^^     laurel-crowned. 

1.  Graves,  G.M.  1,81. 

Dark  Age 

Western  histories  have  put  forth  many  theories  about  the  fall  of 
Rome  and  attributed  the  onset  of  the  Dark  Age  to  a  wide  variety  of 
causes,  except  the  one  cause  that  may  have  had  more  to  do  with  it 
than  any  other:  Christianity.1  By  denying  women's  spiritual  significance 
and  forbidding  Goddess  worship,  the  church  alienated  both  sexes 
from  their  pagan  sense  of  unity  with  the  divine  through  each  other. 

Christians  said  one  of  the  diabolic  symptoms  of  the  oncoming  end 
of  the  world  was  "the  spread  of  knowledge,"  which  they  endeavored 
to  check  with  wholesale  book-burnings,  destruction  of  libraries  and 
schools,  and  opposition  to  education  for  laymen.2  By  the  end  of  the 
5th  century,  Christian  rulers  forcibly  abolished  the  study  of  philosophy, 
mathematics,  medicine,  and  geography.  Lactantius  said  no  Christian 
should  study  astronomy.  Pope  Gregory  the  Great  denounced  all  secular 
education  as  folly  and  wickedness,  and  forbade  Christian  laymen  to 
read  even  the  Bible.  He  burned  the  library  of  the  Palatine  Apollo,  "lest 
its  secular  literature  distract  the  faithful  from  the  contemplation  of 

In  the  church's  view,  every  opinion  except  its  own  was  heretical 
and  devilish,  likely  to  raise  doubts  in  the  minds  of  believers.  There- 
fore, pagan  intellectuals  and  teachers  were  persecuted  and  schools  were 
closed.  Christian  emperors  commanded  the  burning  of  all  books  of 
the  philosophers,  as  Theodosius  said,  "for  we  would  not  suffer  any  of 
those  things  so  much  as  to  come  to  men's  ears,  which  would  tend  to 
provoke  God  to  wrath  and  offend  the  minds  of  the  pious."  After  years  of 
vandalism  and  destruction,  St.  John  Chrysostom  proudly  boasted, 
"Every  trace  of  the  old  philosophy  and  literature  of  the  ancient  world 
has  vanished  from  the  face  of  the  earth."4 

It  was  almost  true.  Christian  persecutions  left  "but  few  fragments 
of  a  vast  liturgy  and  religious  literature  of  paganism  which  would  have 
cast  many  a  ray  of  light  on  the  origins  of  our  own  faith;  and  demolished 
holy  places  and  beautiful  temples  such  as  the  world  shall  never  rear 
again." 5  After  temples  were  destroyed,  monks  and  hermits  were  settled 
in  the  ruins  to  defile  the  site  with  their  excrement,  and  to  prevent 

Rulers  melted  down  bronze,  gold,  and  silver  artworks  for  money. 
Peasants  broke  up  marble  gods  and  goddesses  and  fed  their  pieces 
into  limekilns  for  mortar.7  It  is  recorded  that  4th-century  Rome  had  424 
temples,  304  shrines,  80  statues  of  deities  in  precious  metal,  64 
statues  of  ivory,  3,700  statues  in  bronze,  and  thousands  in  marble.  By 


the  next  century,  nearly  all  of  them  were  gone.  The  historian 
Eunapius,  a  hierophant  of  the  Eleusinian  Mysteries,  watched  the 
destruction  and  wrote  that  the  empire  was  being  overwhelmed  by  a 
"fabulous  and  formless  darkness  mastering  the  loveliness  of  the  world."8 

Roman  society  was  losing  its  cohesiveness  and  discipline,  with  the 
usual  symptoms  of  social  decline:  runaway  inflation,  shortages,  crime, 
apathy,  and  a  discouraged  middle  class  taxed  to  the  breaking  point  to 
support  a  top-heavy,  stagnant  bureaucracy.9  Most  Christians  came 
not  from  that  middle  class,  but  from  the  lower  elements  of  society, 
taking  advantage  of  lawless  times  to  grab  what  they  could.  Celsus  said 
the  Christians  invited  into  their  ranks  "whosoever  is  a  sinner  or 
unintelligent,  or  a  fool,  in  a  word,  whosoever  is  god-forsaken,  him  the 
kingdom  of  God  will  receive.  Now  whom  do  you  mean  by  the  sinner 
but  the  wicked:  thief,  housebreaker,  poisoner,  temple  robber,  grave 
robber?. . .  Jesus,  they  say,  was  sent  to  save  sinners;  was  he  not  sent  to 
help  those  who  have  kept  themselves  free  from  sin?  They  pretend 
that  God  will  save  the  unjust  man  if  he  repents  and  humbles  himself. 
The  just  man  who  has  held  steadily  from  the  cradle  in  the  ways  of 
virtue  he  will  not  look  upon." 10 

Bertrand  Russell  described  the  philosophical  outlook  of  St.  Jerome: 
"He  thinks  the  preservation  of  virginity  more  important  than  victory 
over  the  Huns  and  Vandals  and  Goths.  Never  once  do  his  thoughts  turn 
to  any  possible  measure  of  practical  statesmanship;  never  once  does 
he  point  out  the  evils  of  the  fiscal  system,  or  of  reliance  on  an  army 
composed  of  barbarians.  The  same  is  true  of  Ambrose  and  Augus- 
tine. ...  It  is  no  wonder  that  the  Empire  fell  into  ruin."  n 

Conventional  histories  presented  a  picture  of  early  Christians  as 
peaceable  souls,  unjustly  persecuted.  This  picture  could  only  have 
arisen  because  historical  writing  was  monopolized  by  the  church  for 
many  centuries,  and  there  was  no  compunction  about  changing  or 
falsifying  records.  Pagan  Rome  didn't  persecute  religious  minorities. 
"It  never  disputed  the  existence  or  reality  of  other  deities,  and  the 
addition  of  a  new  member  to  the  Pantheon  was  a  matter  of  indiffer- 
ence. . . .  [A]U  deities  of  all  peoples  were  regarded  as  but  manifestations 
of  the  one  supreme  deity."  Dionysus,  Venus,  and  Priapus  were 
honored  co-residents  of  the  temple  of  Isis  in  Pompeii.  Italian  and  Greek 
deities  mixed  together  in  the  temple  of  Mithra  at  Ostia.12  All  deities 
were  willing  to  co-exist  except  the  Christian  one.  The  Christian  church 
alone  "has  always  held  the  toleration  of  others  to  be  the  persecution 
of  itself." 1J  As  early  as  382  a.d.,  the  church  officially  declared  that  any 
opposition  to  its  own  creed  in  favor  of  others  must  be  punished  by  the 
death  penalty.14 

Contrary  to  the  conventional  mythology,  Christians  were  not 
prosecuted  under  Roman  law  for  being  Christians  but  for  committing 
civil  crimes.15  They  caused  riots,  "often  tumultuously  interrupted  the 
public  worship,  and  continually  railed  against  the  national  religion." 16 
They  seem  to  have  been  guilty  of  vandalism  and  arson.  The  Great  Fire 

Dark  Age 


Daik  Age  in  64  a.d.  was  set  by  Christians  who  were  "anxiously  waiting  for  the 

world  to  end  by  fire  and  who  did  at  times  start  fires  in  order  to  prompt 
^^^^^^^^^^^      God." 17  Crying  that  the  world  would  end  at  any  moment,  Christian 
fanatics  sometimes  developed  the  notion  that  starting  the  fires  of  the 
final  holocaust  would  redound  to  their  credit  in  heaven.18  At  least  one 
saint  was  canonized  for  no  particular  reason  other  than  having  been  an 
arsonist:  St.  Theodore,  whose  sole  claim  to  fame  was  burning  down 
the  temple  of  the  Mother  of  the  Gods.19 

The  decline  of  Roman  civilization  and  the  onset  of  the  Dark  Age 
was  the  period  Gilbert  Murray  characterized  as  the  western  world's 
failure  of  nerve.  It  marked  the  transition  of  the  west  from  a  position  of 
cultural  leadership  to  one  of  regressed  barbarism,  and  transformed 
Europe  into  what  is  now  known  as  an  "undeveloped  area."20  Intellect, 
taste,  and  imagination  disappeared  from  art  and  literature.  Rather 
than  broadening  the  western  mind,  its  church  crippled  that  mind  by 
allowing  childish  superstitions  to  flourish  in  an  atmosphere  of  igno- 
rance and  unreason.21  Suppression  of  the  teaching  priestess  or  alma 
materled  to  an  eclipse  of  education  in  general. 

Many  scholars  fled  from  Christian  persecutions  eastward  to  Iran, 
where  the  Sassanid  king  helped  them  found  a  school  of  medicine  and 
science.  This  was  the  world's  intellectual  capital  for  two  centuries.22 
Already  in  529,  when  Justinian  closed  the  Athenian  schools,  Helle- 
nistic learning  had  been  dispersed  to  Sassanian  Persia,  Gupta  India,  ant 
Celtic  Ireland.23 

Church  historians  have  claimed  nothing  of  real  value  was  lost  in 
the  destruction  of  pagan  culture.  Modern  scholars  disagree.  The 
havoc  that  afflicted  art,  science,  literature,  philosophy,  engineering, 
architecture,  and  all  other  fields  of  achievement  has  been  likened  to 
the  havoc  of  the  Gigantomachia — as  if  the  crude  giants  overthrew  the 
intelligent  gods.  The  widespread  literacy  of  the  classical  period 
disappeared.  Aqueducts,  harbors,  buildings,  even  the  splendid  Roman 
roads  fell  into  ruin.  It  has  been  pointed  out  that  centuries  of 
devastating  war  could  hardly  have  shattered  Roman  civilization  as 
effectively  as  did  its  new  obsession  with  an  ascetic  monotheism.24 

Books  and  artworks  were  destroyed  because  they  expressed  un- 
christian ideas  and  images.25  The  study  of  medicine  was  forbidden, 
on  the  ground  that  all  diseases  were  caused  by  demons  and  could  be 
cured  only  by  exorcism.  This  theory  was  still  extant  in  the  time  of 
Pope  Alexander  III,  who  forbade  monks  to  study  any  techniques  of 
healing  other  than  verbal  charms.26  Under  the  Christian  emperors, 
educated  citizens  were  persecuted  by  the  illiterate  who  claimed  their 
books  were  witchcraft  texts.  Often,  "magical"  writings  were  planted 
by  Christian  magistrates  for  the  sake  of  the  financial  rewards  they 
received  when  they  caught  and  executed  heretics — a  system  the 
Inquisition  also  used  to  advantage  in  later  centuries.  Priestesses  were 
especially  persecuted,  because  they  were  female,  wealthy,  and  laid 
claim  to  spiritual  authority.27 

Fathers  of  the  church  seemed  cynically  aware  that  public  igno- 


ranee  worked  in  their  favor.  Gregory  of  Nazianzus  wrote  to  St.  Jerome: 
"A  little  jargon  is  all  that  is  necessary  to  impose  upon  the  people.  The 
less  they  comprehend,  the  more  they  admire.  Our  forefathers  and 
doctors  have  often  said,  not  what  they  thought,  but  what  circumstances 
and  necessity  dictated."28 

Lactantius  declared  that  pagan  temples  should  be  torn  down 
because,  in  them,  "The  demons  are  attempting  to  destroy  the 
kingdom  of  God,  and  by  means  of  false  miracles  and  lying  oracles  are 
assuming  the  appearance  of  real  gods."29  It  was  dangerous  to  leave 
the  temples  intact,  even  when  they  were  converted  into  Christian 
churches.  The  temple  of  the  Mother  of  Heaven  at  Carthage  was 
made  over  into  a  church,  but  in  440  a.d.  the  bishop  discovered  that  the 
Carthaginians  were  actually  making  their  devotions  to  the  old  God- 
dess, and  ordered  the  entire  temple  area  leveled  to  the  ground.30 

Ignorance  was  helpful  to  the  spread  of  the  faith;  so  ignorance 
was  fostered.  Knight  says,  "Men  are  superstitious  in  proportion  as  they 
are  ignorant,  and  . . .  those  who  know  least  of  the  principles  of 
religion  are  the  most  earnest  and  fervent."31  In  keeping  western  Europe 
as  ignorant  as  possible,  however,  the  church  lost  much  of  its  history. 
Even  contemporary  events  went  inaccurately  reported,  or  altogether 
unnoted.  Events  of  the  past  were  absurdly  garbled.  All  the  public 
knew  of  history  was  provided  by  bards,  who  tried  to  maintain  the  druidic 
tradition  of  rote-learning,  with  indifferent  success.  They  taught,  for 
example,  that  Alexander  the  Great  made  an  expedition  to  the  Garden 
of  Eden,  where  he  was  instructed  by  the  poet-magician  Virgil,  by 
"Monsignor  St.  Paul,"  and  by  "Tholomeus"  (Ptolemy),  king  of  Egypt. 
They  taught  that  Julius  Caesar  was  a  king  of  Hungary  and  Austria, 
and  a  prince  of  Constantinople;  his  mother  was  the  Valkyrie  Brunn- 
hilde,  a  daughter  of  Judas  Maccabeus;  he  married  Morgana,  the 
Fairy  Queen,  and  became  the  father  of  Oberon  and  St.  George.32 

The  field  of  natural  science  was  in  even  worse  disorder.  Learned 
books  taught  that  mice  do  not  reproduce  like  other  mammals  but  are 
generated  spontaneously  and  asexually  from  "the  putrefaction  of  the 
earth";  that  wasps  produce  themselves  out  of  a  dead  horse  and  bees 
out  of  a  dead  calf;  that  a  crab  deprived  of  its  legs  and  buried  will  turn 
into  a  scorpion;  that  some  mammals,  such  as  hares,  can  change  from 
one  sex  to  the  other;  that  a  duck  dried  into  powder  and  placed  in  water 
will  generate  frogs;  that  a  duck  baked  and  buried  will  generate  toads; 
that  asparagus  is  produced  from  buried  shavings  of  ram's  horn;  that 
scorpions  can  be  created  from  garden  basil  rubbed  between  two 
stones;  that  rain  and  lightning  can  be  raised  by  burning  a  chameleon's 
liver  on  a  rooftop;  that  no  fleas  can  breed  where  a  man  scatters  dust 
dug  up  from  his  right  footprint  in  the  place  where  he  heard  the  first 
springtime  call  of  a  cuckoo.33  Because  the  very  idea  of  experimenta- 
tion to  test  hypotheses  had  been  replaced  by  credulous  reliance  on 
theological  authority,  even  notions  that  would  have  been  simple  to 
test  remained  untested. 

As  for  more  complex  hypotheses,  they  were  beyond  the  ken  of 

Dark  Age 


David,  Saint  theologians.  Pagan  thinkers  long  ago  understood  the  shape  of  the 

earth,  and  even  calculated  its  approximate  circumference  with  only  a 

^ ^^m      small  error.  But  Lactantius  and  other  learned  churchmen  called  this 

field  of  endeavor  "bad  and  senseless,"  and  proved  by  quoting  the  Bible 
that  the  earth  was  flat.34 

The  most  thoroughly  Christianized  nations  hardly  began  to  recov- 
er from  the  church's  eclipse  of  learning  until  the  present  century.  In 
Spain  for  example,  the  tradition  of  book-burning  became  an  integral 
part  of  the  auto-da-fe  in  1 502.  It  was  against  the  law  for  any  layman 
to  read  any  book  not  approved  by  the  bishops.35  To  own  vernacular 
copies  of  either  Testament  of  the  Bible  was  punishable  by  burning  at 
the  stake.36  Reading  declined  to  almost  nothing.  What  few  grammar 
schools  existed  were  only  "superficial  preparation  for  the  priesthood." 
Still,  many  priests  were  illiterate.  General  education  was  attempted  only 
after  the  revolutions  of  1834  and  1855,  when  the  monasteries  were 
suppressed.  Yet  in  18%,  more  than  two-thirds  of  the  population  were 
still  unable  to  read  or  write.37 

Spanish  suspicion  of  books  carried  over  into  the  New  World,  and 
deprived  anthropologists  and  archeologists  of  literary  treasures  that 
might  have  shed  much  light  on  pre-Columbian  civilizations.  Spanish 
friars  "converted"  the  Maya  of  Yucatan  in  1 562,  by  their  usual 
forceful  methods,  such  as  torture  and  burning.  They  fed  the  fires  with 
hundreds  of  Maya  sacred  books  which,  had  they  survived,  would 
have  greatly  assisted  modern  scholars  to  unravel  the  mysteries  of  Mayan 
script.  The  friars  said  the  natives  were  "greatly  afflicted"  by  the  loss  of 
their  scriptures;  but  as  far  as  the  friars  could  see,  these  books  "contained 
nothing  in  which  there  was  not  to  be  seen  superstition  and  lies  of  the 
devil,  so  we  burned  them  all."58 

1.  H.  Smith,  254.  2.  Male,  355.  3.  H.  Smhh,  228, 253;  de  Camp,  A.E..  283, 264. 

4.  Doane,  436, 447.  5.  Angus,  280.  6.  J.H.  Smith,  D.C.P.,  173. 

7.  de  Camp,  A.E.,  93.  8.  Pepper  &  Wilcock,  90, 288.  9.  Thomson,  352. 

10.  H.Smith,  203.  1 1 .  B.  RusseO,  344.  12.  Angus,  190-92.  13Couhon,91. 

14.Robbins.498.  15.  Phillips,  152.  16.  Knight, D.W.P,  111. 

17.  Lindsay,  O.A.,  277.  18.deCamp,  A.E.,234.  19.  de  Voragine,  662. 

20.  Campbell,  Oc.M.,  247, 455.  21.  Cumont,  O.R.R.P,  26. 

22.  de  Camp,  A.E.,  303.  23.  Campbell,  CM.,  133. 

24.  J.H.  Smith.  D.C.P.,  4;  de  Camp,  A.E..  135, 264. 

25.  Sadock,  Kaplan  &  Freedman,  536.  26.  White  1, 386.  27.  Sdigmann,  70-73. 
28.  Doane,  434.  29.  Casuglioni,  215.  30.  J.H.  Smith,  D.C.P.,  229. 

3 1 .  Knight,  D.W.P.,  31.32.  Briffiroh  3, 432. 

33.  Agrippa,  101, 108,  111,  122, 137, 148.  34.  de  Camp.  A.E.,  283. 

35.  H.  Smith,  259.  36.  Lea,  20.  37.  Couhon,  305-6.  38.  Von  Hagen,  432. 

David,  Saint 

Patron  saint  of  Wales,  actually  a  pagan  god  Christianized  in  the  1 1th 
century  a.d.  He  was  the  Welsh  sea  god  worshipped  as  Dewi,  from  the 
Aryan  devior  deva,  "deity."  Though  he  was  called  a  6th-century 
bishop,  nothing  was  written  of  him  until  1090,  more  than  500  years 
later.  His  wholly  unreliable  biography  was  composed  chiefly  to 
support  the  Welsh  bishops'  independence  at  the  time.1 


The  city  now  called  St.  David's  used  to  be  Menevia,  "Way  of  the  Death 

Moon,"  the  same  as  Danish  Manavegr  and  Irish  E-Mania,  the  lunar 
paradise.2  ^^^^^^^^^^^_ 

Symbol  of  David-Dewi  was  the  Great  Red  Serpent,  now  the  red 
dragon,  Wales's  national  emblem.  Like  the  phallic  god  Python  or 
Oceanus  encircling  the  World  Egg,  he  may  have  been  reddened  by  his 
union  with  the  Moon-goddess  Mab,  who  gave  sovereignty  to  all  her 
kings  by  staining  them  red.3 

David's  title,  the  Waterman,  was  explained  by  Christian  scholars  to 
mean  he  was  a  teetotaler.4  Welsh  sailors  knew  better;  their  traditions 
placed  him  in  the  depths  of  the  sea.  They  called  him  Davy  Jones,  who 
like  the  sea  god  Mananann  kept  the  souls  of  drowned  seamen  in  his 

Waterman  was  a  popular  title  for  several  ancient  gods  of  waters 
besides  Dewi:  notably  Ceadda,  a  Mercian  god  of  medicinal  springs, 
who  was  canonized  twice  (see  Chad). 

Even  in  Christian  disguise,  David  retained  the  sacred  skills  of  a 
bard.  It  was  claimed  that  his  miraculous  talent  for  harping  and  singing 
came  from  his  lineal  descent  from  the  virgin  Mary,  of  the  ancient  house 
of  King  David  the  Harpist,  in  the  eighteenth  generation.  Mary  was 
also  identified  with  the  Welsh  sea-goddess  Marian,  Dewi's  bride, 
receiver  of  the  souls  of  the  dead.  Welsh  bards  called  their  death  songs 
marwysgafen,  the  "giving  to  Mary,"  sung  to  send  the  funeral  boat  to  the 
Isles  of  the  Dead.6 

Sometimes  David  was  confused  with  Merlin,  who  allegedly  harped 
and  sang  the  stones  of  Stonehenge  into  their  places.  Some  legends 
made  David  a  bishop  of  Merlin's  town,  Caerleon.7  Some  said  David 
was  King  Arthur's  uncle.  Like  many  mythical  saints,  he  was  given  a 
long  lifetime  to  demonstrate  the  health-giving  virtues  of  Christian  faith; 
he  lived  to  the  age  of  140  years.8  His  mother  was  the  same  virgin 
temple-maiden  who  gave  birth  to  nearly  every  ancient  god;  here  she  was 
St.  Non  (Holy  Nun).9  Two  cities  claimed  his  shrine,  located  not  only 
at  St.  David's  but  also  in  the  city  of  Chester,  which  used  to  be  named 
Deva  or  Dewi.10 

1.  Attwater,  101-2.  2.  Brewster,  121.  3.  Rees,  75.  4.  Attwater,  102. 
5.  Phillips,  110.  6.  Brewster,  120.  7.  Brewster,  121.  8.  Hazlitt,  168. 
9.  Attwater,  102.  10.  Cumont,  M.M.,  57. 


been  said  that  Death  came  into  existence  only  with  the  rise  of 
man's  consciousness,  a  roundabout  way  of  saying  death  is  more  real  for 
humans  than  for  any  other  animal,  because  only  humans  foresee  it.1 
Religions  owe  their  existence  to  the  unique  ability  of  the  human  animal 
to  understand  that  it  must  die. 

Against  this  realization  the  forces  of  imagination  are  mustered  to 
deny  it.  It's  hard  for  any  perceiving  mind  to  perceive  its  own 


Death  notbeing,  with  cessation  of  all  perception.  Worshippers  of  Kali  managed 

to  view  the  beyond-death  state  as  Dreamless  Sleep.2  But  most  ancient 
^^^^^^^^^^^      people  couldn't  formulate  an  idea  of  non-perception. 

Even  when  the  land  of  the  dead  was  minimally  stimulating,  as  in 
the  Babylonian  concept,  it  was  perceptible  to  the  senses.  It  was  the 
House  of  Dust,  and  the  end  of  the  Road  of  No  Return.  The  dead 
were  clothed  in  feathers,  like  birds.  "Dust  is  their  food  and  clay  their 
meat . . . ,  they  see  no  light,  they  sit  in  darkness."  Yet  in  the  same 
House  of  Dust  there  were  priests  and  kings  ruling,  and  servants  to  carry 
the  baked  meats  and  pour  water  from  water  skins.3 

Babylonian  literature  reveals  a  hope  that  eventually  the  right  ritual 
cure  for  death  will  be  discovered,  rather  as  modern  people  hope  for  a 
cure  for  cancer.  The  recommended  avenue  of  investigation  was  necro- 
mantic consultation  with  the  dead  themselves.  "The  quest  for 
immortality  was  essentially  the  search  for  the  right  ritual,  the  knowledge 
of  what  to  do  in  order  to  secure  a  continued  existence  of  the  body 
after  death.  This  knowledge  is  possessed  by  the  ancestors,  and  can  only 
be  obtained  from  them."4 

Men  have  usually  believed  that  knowledge  of  death  can  only  come 
from  those  who  have  experienced  it.  Hence  the  initiatory  procedures 
involving  mock  death,  as  among  Siberian  shamans,  who  experience  in 
trances  being  torn  apart  and  reduced  to  bare  bones.  "By  thus  seeing 
himself  naked,  altogether  freed  from  the  perishable  and  transient  flesh 
and  blood,  he  consecrates  himself,  in  the  sacred  tongue  of  the 
shamans,  to  his  great  task,  through  that  part  of  his  body  which  will 
longest  withstand  the  action  of  the  sun,  wind  and  weather,  after  he  is 
dead. . . .  [I]n  certain  Central  Asian  meditations  that  are  Buddhistic  and 
tantric  in  origin  or  at  least  in  structure,  reduction  to  the  skeleton 
condition  has . . .  an  ascetic  and  metaphysical  value — anticipating  the 
work  of  time,  reducing  life  by  thought  to  what  it  really  is,  an 
ephemeral  illusion  in  perpetual  transformation." 5 

So  vivid  were  the  fantasies  of  the  death-world  that  some  Oriental 
sages  prayed  for  sufficient  conscious  sense  to  realize  that  they  were 
nothing  more  than  inventions  of  the  mind:  "May  I  recognize  whatever 
visions  appear,  as  the  reflections  of  my  own  consciousness.  May  I 
know  them  to  be  of  the  nature  of  apparitions  in  the  intermediate  State. 
May  I  not  fear  the  troops  of  my  own  thought  forms,  the  Peaceful 

Deities  and  the  Wrathful May  it  come  that  all  the  Sounds  will  be 

known  as  one's  own  sounds;  may  it  come  that  all  the  Radiances  will    .  1 
be  known  as  one's  own  radiances."6 

Tantric  Buddhism  proposed  that  the  death  world  or  Intermediate 
State  could  be  controlled  if  one  were  prepared  through  carefully 
guided  fantasy  in  life  to  retain  memory,  consciousness,  and  the  goal  of 
choosing  for  one's  self  the  right  "womb-door"  for  a  better  reincarna- 
tion.7 Living  and  dying  were  only  complementary  aspects  of  the  same 
cycle,  both  requiring  proper  education.  "Material  life  moves  between 
two  poles,"  Bachofen  says.  "Its  realm  is  not  that  of  being  but  that  of 


becoming  and  passing  away,  the  eternal  alternation  of  two  colors,  the 
Lvhite  of  life  and  the  black  of  death.  Only  through  the  equal  mixture  of 
!he  two  is  the  survival  of  the  material  world  assured.  Without  death 
ho  rejuvenation  is  possible  ...  the  positive  power  cannot  for  one  mo- 
htient  exist  without  the  negative  power.  Death,  then,  is  not  the 
bpposite  but  the  helper  of  life."8 

The  Great  Goddess  was  intimately  involved  in  every  manifestation 
pf  death  as  she  was  in  those  of  life,  which  is  why  she  had  an 
['emanation"  for  each  fatal  disease,  such  as  Mari-Amma,  Ankamma, 
Mutteyalamma,  etc.  Her  priestesses  supported  and  taught  the  dying. 
'As  among  the  gods,  so  among  the  mortals  was  death  everywhere 
voman's  business.  A  woman  is  said  to  have  invented  the  wailing  for 
he  dead. . . .  Women  cradle  the  infant  and  the  corpse,  each  to  its 
^articular  new  life."9 

Romans  thought  death  should  be  kept  in  mind  at  all  times, 
specially  when  life  at  its  peak  might  make  one  forget  the  other, 
qually  necessary  part  of  the  cycle.  When  a  military  hero  entered  Rome 
n  triumphal  procession,  riding  in  a  golden  chariot,  hailed  as  a  god  in 
he  ancient  equivalent  of  a  ticker-tape  parade,  a  person  wearing  the 
nask  and  costume  of  Death  stood  at  his  shoulder,  preserving  him 
rom  the  sin  of  hubris  by  saying  each  moment  in  his  ear,  "Man, 
emember  you  will  die." 10 

Paganism  fostered  the  Tantric  idea  of  growth  and  decline  in 
ecurrent  cycles.  "The  old  fertility  gods  did  not  shrink  from  the  fact 
>f  death;  they  sought  no  infantile  evasion,  but  promised  rebirth  and 
enewal."  u  Christianity  on  the  other  hand  denied  that  members  of 
ts  sect  could  die.  Early  Christians  who  died  were  said  to  have  "fallen 
sleep,"  soon  to  wake  up  again  with  the  second  coming  of  Christ.  A 
norbid  anxiety  often  accompanied  ritual  denial.  Kermode  says,  "Chris- 
ianity  of  all  the  great  religions  is  the  most  anxious,  is  the  one  which 
aid  the  most  emphasis  on  the  terror  of  death." 12 

Sometimes  fear  became  obsession,  in  a  love-hate  relationship  with 
eath.  In  the  Secret  Book  of  James,  Jesus  recommended  suicide, 
marking  that  the  kingdom  of  death  could  only  belong  to  those  who 
>ut  themselves  to  death,  and  no  one  who  avoided  this  duty  could  be 

Obsession  flowered  into  a  thousand  elaborate  death  customs  and 
ituals  aimed  at  encapsulating  the  phenomenon,  separating  it  from 
rdinary  life  experience  so  its  inevitability  need  not  be  fully  understood, 
n  Frazer's  opinion  such  customs  and  rituals  have  been  the  most 
wasteful  ever  seen  in  any  society: 

No  belief  has  done  so  much  to  retard  the  economic  and  thereby  the  social 
progress  of  mankind  as  has  the  belief  in  the  immortality  of  the  soul;  for 
this  belief  has  led  race  after  race,  generation  after  generation,  to  sacrifice 
the  real  wants  of  the  living  to  the  imaginary  wants  of  the  dead.  The 
waste  and  destruction  of  life  and  property  which  this  faith  has  entailed  are 
enormous  and  incalculable.  '4 


Secret  Book  of 
James  One  of  the  so- 
called  Gnostic 
Gospels  discovered  at 
Nag  Hammadi  in 
Upper  Egypt,  1945, 
purporting  to  have 
been  written  by  the 
apostle  James. 


Death  Pagan  philosophers'  acceptance  of  death  may  have  been  more 

practical  than  the  elaborate  denials  that  arose  later.  With  a  somber  but 

^________ — _     courageous  serenity,  Euripides  stated  the  pagan  idea  that  opinions  on 

death  are  not  possible: 

But  if  any  far-off  state  there  be 

Dearer  to  life  than  mortality 

The  hand  of  the  Dark  hath  hold  thereof, 

And  mist  is  under  the  mist  above; 

So  we  are  sick  for  life,  and  cling 

On  earth  to  this  nameless  and  shining  thing, 

For  other  life  is  a  fountain  sealed, 

And  the  deeps  below  are  unrevealed, 

And  we  drift  on  legends  for  ever. IS 

Because  they  were  westerners,  the  Greek  philosophers  have 
been  given  more  credit  for  originality  than  they  deserved.  Actually,  their 
opinions  of  death  and  its  implications  for  the  living  were  largely  taken 
from  Oriental  sages  who  evolved  them  first.  Greek  notions  of  the 
Dreamless  Sleep,  of  reincarnation,  of  the  four  ages  of  man  including 
the  primordial  Age  of  Giants,  all  were  derived  from  Oriental  sources. 
Tantric  sages  spoke  of  the  faraway  Golden  Age  when  all  men  were 
giants  and  lived  lifetimes  of  about  a  thousand  years  each,  because  they 
were  nearer  in  time  to  the  world's  creation,  when  the  Goddess's 
nourishing  birth  blood  was  more  abundant  and  the  knowledge  of  her 
was  more  intimate  among  her  children.  As  the  Bible  said,  there  were 
giants  in  the  earth  in  those  days  (Genesis  6:4). 16 

The  same  long-lived  giants  were  identified  with  their  own  ances- 
tors by  the  authors  of  Genesis.  The  Hindu  concept  of  human 
longevity  in  the  Golden  Age  was  copied  into  the  Bible  as  a  quality  of  the 
early  patriarchs — not  quite  a  thousand  years  apiece,  but  at  least  more 
than  nine  centuries.  Adam  lived  to  be  930  years  old;  Seth  912  years; 
Enos  905  years;  and  so  on,  the  champion  being  Methusaleh  at  969 
years  (Genesis  5). 

However  long  delayed,  though,  death  must  come,  and  that  was  the 
thought  that  patriarchal  thinkers  found  unacceptable.  The  older 
matriarchal  religions  were  more  realistic  in  their  acceptance  of  death, 
making  it  the  sage's  duty  to  realize  the  ugliness,  corruption,  and 
decay  in  nature  as  fully  as  he  might  realize  its  beauty:  to  accord  death 
the  same  value  as  birth.  The  two  were  of  equal  importance,  as  two 
passages  through  the  same  Door:  one  coming  out,  the  other  going  in. 
Different  forms  of  the  Goddess  represented  the  idea.  On  the  one 
hand  she  was  the  beautiful  nubile  Virgin  or  the  tender  nurturing 
Mother;  on  the  other  hand  she  was  a  hideous  ghoul,  herself  corpse- 
like  and  a  devourer  of  corpses — and  these  two  forms  of  her  were  to  be 
adored  equally.  Avalon  justly  remarked  that  in  the  west,  "the  terrible 
beauty  of  such  forms  is  not  understood";  missionaries  could  only 
describe  the  Death-goddess  as  a  she-devil.17  Yet,  for  the  enlightened, 


"This  fanged  and  bloody  Goddess  is  the  same  as  the  other,  the  beautiful  Deborah 

)  mother  and  lover.  To  be  able  to  superimpose  and  adore  both  images  Delilah 

!  in  one  is  perhaps  the  solidest  beginning  on  the  road  of  sadhana." 18  ^^^^^^^^^^^ 

Some  individuals  in  western  culture  arrived  more  or  less  indepen- 
jdently  at  the  vision  of  this  archetypal  female  death  spirit.  Wherever 
there  was  a  concept  of  Mother  Nature,  it  could  hardly  fail  to  be  noticed 
that  it  was  natural  to  die,  and  the  roots  of  every  flower  lay  in  organic 
rot.  Coleridge  spoke  of  the  "Night-mare  LIFE-IN-DEATH"  as  a 
(woman.  Keats  described  himself  as  "half  in  love  with  easeful  Death." 
iLike  the  Oriental  sages,  Alfred  de  Vigny  perceived  Death  as  a  maternal 
[Goddess:  "O  Death  divine,  at  whose  recall  /  Returneth  all  /  To  fade 
in  thy  embrace,  /  Gather  thy  children  to  thy  bosom  starred,  /  Free  us 
from  time,  from  number,  and  from  space,  /  And  give  us  back  the  rest 
that  life  hath  marred." 19 

I.  von  Franz,  pi.  7.  2.  Campbell,  CM.,  347.  3.  Epic  of  Gilgamesh,  92. 

4.  Hooke,  S  P.,  55.  5.  Eliade,  S.,  63.  6.  Campbell,  M.I.,  399;  Bardo  Thodol,  202. 

7.  Bardo  Thodol,  183.  8.  Bachofen,  33-34.  9.  Lederer,  126-27. 

10.  Dumezil,  566.  1 1 .  Mumford,  267.  1 2.  Kermode,  27.  13.  Pagels,90. 

14.  Frazer,  P.T.,  52.  15.  Angus,  230-3 1 .  16.  Mahanirvanatantra,  xlvii-xlviii. 

17.  Avalon,  171.  18.  Rawson,  A.T.,  1 12, 129.  19.  Cumont,  A.R.G.R.,  94. 


Queen  Bee,"  a  ruler  of  Israel  in  the  matriarchal  period,  bearing  the 
same  name  as  the  Goddess  incarnate  in  early  Mycenaean  and  Anatolian 
ulers  as  "the  Pure  Mother  Bee." !  Deborah  lived  under  a  sacred 
Dalm  tree  that  also  bore  her  name,  and  was  identified  with  the  maternal 
Tree  of  Life,  like  Xikum,  the  Tree  of  Ishtar.  The  Bible  called  her  a 
'prophetess"  or  "judge"  to  disguise  the  fact  that  she  was  one  of  the 
governing  matriarchs  of  a  former  age  (Judges  4:4). 

One  of  Deborah's  alternate  names  was  Jael,  "the  Goddess  Jah," 
wssibly  the  same  one  patriarchal  Persians  called  Jahi  the  Whore,  an 
arlier  feminine  form  of  Yahweh.2 

1.  Sobol,  138;  Neumann,  CM.,  267.  2.  Albright,  23. 


'She  Who  Makes  Weak,"  a  name  compounded  of  De  (daleth),  the 
'onic  Door,  and  lilu,  the  lotus,  another  yonic  symbol.  She  was  the 
Goddess  who  "weakened"  the  sun  god  every  day  and  sent  him  to  his 
leath  on  the  wheel  that  turned  him  under  the  earth.  In  the  case  of 
>amson — who  was  the  sun  god  Shams-On,  or  Shamash — it  was  the 
nill  wheel.  In  the  case  of  Heracles,  another  name  for  the  same  solar 
leity,  it  was  Omphale's  wheel:  the  omphalos  often  represented  by  the 
osmic  yoni. 


Delphi  Delphi 


"Womb";  Greece's  oldest,  most  famous  oracle,  where  Mother  Earth 
was  worshipped  under  the  name  of  Delphyne,  the  Womb  of  Creation, 
along  with  her  serpent-son  and  consort  Python.1  At  various  times  the 
oracle  was  said  to  belong  to  the  Sea-goddess,  or  the  Moon-goddess, 
various  designations  of  the  same  primal  Mother,  whose  priestess- 
daughters,  the  Pythonesses,  controlled  the  rites.  Eventually  the 
patriarchal  god  Apollo  took  it  over,  retaining  the  Pythonesses,  but 
claiming  to  have  placed  the  Serpent  in  his  underground  uterine  cave, 
whence  came  the  oracle's  inspiration.  Apollo  murdered  the  priestess 
Delphyne,  and  held  the  oracle  until  it  was  closed  by  the  Christian 
emperor  Theodosius.  After  him,  Arcadius  had  the  temple  entirely 

1.  Graves,  CM.  1,80. 


Greek  meter  is  "mother."  De  is  the  delta,  or  triangle,  a  female- 
genital  sign  known  as  "the  letter  of  the  vulva"  in  the  Greek  sacred 
alphabet,  as  in  India  it  was  the  Yoni  Yantra,  or  yantra  of  the  vulva.1 
Corresponding  letters — Sanskrit  dwr,  Celtic  duir,  Hebrew  daleth — 
meant  the  Door  of  birth,  death,  or  the  sexual  paradise.2  Thus, 
Demeter  was  what  Asia  called  "the  Doorway  of  the  Mysterious  Femi- 
nine ...  the  root  from  which  Heaven  and  Earth  sprang." ?  In 
Mycenae,  one  of  Demeter's  earliest  cult  centers,  tholos  tombs  with  their 
triangular  doorways,  short  vaginal  passages  and  round  domes,  repre- 
sented the  womb  of  the  Goddess  from  which  rebirth  might  come. 
Doorways  generally  were  sacred  to  women.  In  Sumeria  they  were 
painted  red,  representing  the  female  "blood  of  life."4  In  Egypt,  door- 
ways were  smeared  with  real  blood  for  religious  ceremonies,  a  custom 
copied  by  the  Jews  for  their  Passover  rites. 

The  triangle-door-yoni  symbolized  Demeter's  trinity.  Like  all  the 
oldest  forms  of  the  basic  Asiatic  Goddess  she  appeared  as  Virgin, 
Mother,  and  Crone,  or  Creator,  Preserver,  Destroyer,  like  Kali-Cunti 
who  was  the  same  yoni-mother.  Demeter's  Virgin  form  was  Kore, 
the  Maiden,  sometimes  called  her  "daughter,"  as  in  the  classical  myth 
of  the  abduction  of  Kore,  which  divided  the  two  aspects  of  the 
Goddess  into  two  separate  individuals.  Demeter's  Mother  form  had 
many  names  and  titles,  such  as  Despoena,  "the  Mistress";  Daeira, 
"the  Goddess";  the  Barley-Mother;  the  Wise  One  of  Earth  and  Sea;  or 
Pluto,  "Abundance."  This  last  name  was  transferred  to  the  male 
underworld  god  said  to  have  taken  the  Maiden  into  the  earth-womb 
during  the  dark  season  when  fields  lay  fallow.  But  this  was  a  late, 
artificial  myth.  The  original  Pluto  was  female,  and  her  "riches"  were 
poured  out  on  the  world  from  her  breasts.5 

The  Crone  phase  of  Demeter,  Persephone-the-Destroyer,  was 


identified  with  the  Virgin  in  late  myth,  so  the  Maiden  abducted  into 
the  underworld  was  sometimes  Kore,  sometimes  Persephone.  Some  of 
the  Destroyer's  other,  earlier  names  were  Melaina,  the  Black  One; 
Demeter  Chthonia,  the  Subterranean  One;  or  The  Avenger  (Erinys). 
Her  black-robed,  mare-headed  idol,  her  mane  entwined  with  Gorgon 
snakes,  appeared  in  one  of  her  oldest  cave-shrines,  Mavrospelya,  the 
Black  Cave,  in  Phigalia  (southwest  Arcadia).  She  carried  a  dolphin 
I    and  a  dove,  symbols  of  womb  and  yoni.  Like  the  devouring  death- 
goddess  everywhere,  she  was  once  a  cannibal.  She  ate  the  flesh  of 
Pelops,  then  restored  him  to  life  in  her  cauldron.6  She  was  as  fearsome 
as  every  other  version  of  the  Crone.  The  legendary  medieval  Night- 
Mare — an  equine  Fury  who  tormented  sinners  in  their  sleep — was 
based  on  ancient  images  of  Mare-headed  Demeter. 

Her  cult  was  already  well  established  at  Mycenae  in  the  1 3th 
century  B.C.  and  continued  throughout  Greece  well  into  the  Chris- 
tian era,  a  length  of  time  almost  equal  to  the  lifespan  of  Christianity 
itself.7  Her  temple  at  Eleusis,  one  of  the  greatest  shrines  in  Greece, 
became  the  center  of  an  elaborate  mystery-religion.  Sophocles  wrote, 
"Thrice  happy  they  of  men  who  looked  upon  these  rites  ere  they  go 
to  Hades's  house;  for  they  alone  there  have  true  life."  Aristides  said, 
"The  benefit  of  the  festival  is  not  merely  the  cheerfulness  of  the 
moment  and  the  freedom  and  respite  from  all  previous  troubles,  but  also 
the  possession  of  happier  hopes  concerning  the  end,  hopes  that  our 
life  hereafter  will  be  the  better,  and  that  we  shall  not  lie  in  darkness  and 
filth — the  fate  that  is  believed  to  await  the  uninitiated."  Isocrates  said: 
"Demeter . . .  being  graciously  minded  towards  our  forefathers  because 
of  their  services  to  her,  services  of  which  none  but  the  initiated  may 
hear,  gave  us  the  greatest  of  all  gifts,  first,  those  fruits  of  the  earth  which 
saved  us  from  living  the  life  of  beasts,  and  secondly,  that  rite  which 
makes  happier  the  hopes  of  those  that  participate  therein  concerning 
both  the  end  of  life  and  their  whole  existence."8 

Eleusis  meant  "advent."  Its  principal  rites  brought  about  the 
advent  of  the  Divine  Child  or  Savior,  variously  named  Brimus, 
Dionysus,  Triptolemus,  Iasion,  or  Eleuthereos,  the  Liberator.  Like  the 
corn,  he  was  born  of  Demeter-the-earth  and  laid  in  a  manger  or 
winnowing  basket.9  His  flesh  was  eaten  by  communicants  in  the  form  of 
bread,  made  from  the  first  or  last  sheaves.  His  blood  was  drunk  in  the 
form  of  wine.  Like  Jesus,  he  entered  the  Earth  and  rose  again. 
Communicants  were  supposed  to  partake  of  his  immortality,  and 
after  death  they  were  known  as  Demetreioi,  blessed  ones  belonging  to 

Revelations  were  imparted  to  the  initiate  through  secret  "things 
heard,  things  tasted,  and  things  seen."  "  This  formula  immediately 
calls  to  mind  the  three  admonitory  monkeys  covering  ears,  mouth,  and 
eyes,  supposed  to  illustrate  the  maxim,  "Hear  no  evil,  speak  no  evil, 
see  no  evil."  Was  the  "evil"  a  secret  descended  from  Eleusinian 
religion?  Demeter  was  worshipped  as  "the  Goddess"  by  Greek 



Demetra,  Saint  peasants  all  the  way  through  the  Middle  Ages,  even  up  to  the  19th 

century  at  Eleusis  where  she  was  entitled  "Mistress  of  Earth  and 

^^^^^^^^^^^—     Sea."  In  1801  two  Englishmen  named  Clarke  and  Cripps  caused  a  riot 
among  the  peasants  by  taking  the  Goddess's  image  away  to  a 
museum  in  Cambridge.12 

Early  Christians  were  much  opposed  to  the  Eleusinian  rites 
because  of  their  overt  sexuality,  even  though  their  goal  was  "regener- 
ation and  forgiveness  of  sins."  13  Asterius  said,  "Is  not  Eleusis  the  scene 
of  descent  into  the  darkness,  and  of  the  solemn  acts  of  intercourse 
between  the  hierophant  and  the  priestess,  alone  together?  Are  not  the 
torches  extinguished,  and  does  not  the  large,  the  numberless  assem- 
bly of  common  people  believe  that  their  salvation  lies  in  that  which  is 
being  done  by  the  two  in  the  darkness?"  H  Fanatic  monks  destroyed 
the  temple  of  these  sexual  mysteries  in  396  a.d.,  but  the  site  remained 
holy  to  the  Goddess's  votaries,  and  the  ceremonies  were  carried  on 
there  and  elsewhere.15 

Rustics  never  ceased  believing  that  Demeter's  spirit  was  manifest 
in  the  final  sheaf  of  the  harvest,  often  called  the  Demeter,  the  Corn 
Mother,  the  Old  Woman,  etc.  At  harvest  festivals  it  was  often  dressed  in 
woman's  clothing  and  laid  in  a  manger  to  make  the  cattle  thrive.16 
Secret  anti-Christian  doctrines  of  medieval  Freemasonry  also  drew 
some  symbolism  from  the  cults  of  the  ancient  Mistress  of  Earth  and 
Sea,  particularly  the  masonic  sacred  image  of  Plenty:  "an  ear  of  corn 
near  a  fall  of  water." 17  The  ultimate  Mystery  was  revealed  at  Eleusis 
in  "an  ear  of  corn  reaped  in  silence" — a  sacred  fetish  that  the  Jews 
called  shibboleth.18 

1.  Mahanirvanatantm,  127.  2.  Gaster,  302.  3.  de  Riencourt,  175.  4.  Hays,  68. 
5.  Graves,  W.G.,  1 59, 406;  CM.  1,61;  G.M.  2,  25.  6.  Graves,  G.M.  2,  30. 
7.  Encyc.  Brit,  "Demeter."  8.  Lawson,  563-64.  9.  Graves,  W.G.,  159. 
10.  Angus,  172.  11.  H.  Smith,  127.  12.  Lawson,  79,  89-92.  13.  Angus,  97. 
14.  Lawson,  577.  15.  Angus,  vii.  16.  Frazer,G.B.,473.  17.  Elworthy,  105. 

Demetra,  Saint 

As  was  the  rule  with  other  manifestations  of  the  Great  Goddess,  there 
was  an  attempt  to  Christianize  Demeter  by  making  a  saint  of  her. 
Though  the  church  refused  to  canonize  "St.  Demetra"  officially,  yet 
she  remained  a  great  favorite  of  the  people,  who  told  miracle-tales  about 
her  and  prayed  to  her  as  fervently  as  if  she  were  a  certified  member  of 
the  canon. 

The  classic  myth  of  Kore-Persephone  and  Demeter  was  retold  as  a 
popular  fairy  tale  centering  on  St.  Demetra.  The  saint's  daughter 
(Kore)  was  kidnapped  by  "a  wicked  Turkish  wizard"  (Hades)  and 
locked  up  in  a  tower.  A  young  hero  rescued  her,  but  perished 
miserably,  chopped  in  pieces  by  the  wizard  and  hung  from  the  tower's 
walls  "between  heaven  and  earth."  Guided  by  a  stork  (her  ancient 
totemic  bird  of  birth),  St.  Demetra  arrived  on  the  scene,  reassembled 


the  hero,  and  brought  him  back  to  life.  ■  Several  elements  of  this  story  Demon 

were  repeated  in  the  Germanic  fairy  tale  of  Rapunzel. 

A  masculinized  version  of  Demeter — or  perhaps  one  of  her  

Demetreioi — was  accepted  into  the  canon  as  a  "St.  Demetrius,"  of 
no  known  date,  and  no  real  biography.  His  legend,  established  in  the 
late  Middle  Ages,  made  him  a  warrior  saint  like  the  equally  mythical 
St.  George.  The  basic  story  was  invented  to  publicize  his  healing  relics 
preserved  at  Salonika.2 

1.  Lawson,  80-84.  2.  Attwater,  102. 


From  Greek  daimon,  a  personal  familiar  spirit  or  guardian  angel,  like 
the  Roman  genius,  roughly  synonymous  with  "soul."  The  daimon  of  a 
hero  could  undergo  apotheosis,  become  a  god,  and  rise  to  heaven  to 
dwell  among  the  stars. 

The  medieval  concept  of  the  demon  evolved  from  Christians' 
blanket  condemnation  of  all  pagan  daimones,  though  they  continued 
to  believe  implicitly  in  their  existence.1  Demons  were  usually  consid- 
ered messengers  and  assistants  of  a  single  Devil,  in  the  same 
relationship  to  him  as  angels  to  God.  Yet  they  were  also  called  "devils" 
and  their  master  could  be  "the  Demon."  The  terms  were  never 
clearly  distinguished. 

Animals  and  people  could  be  "demons,"  or  could  harbor  demons 
within  their  bodies  or  minds.  Sometimes,  any  alien  group  of  people 
could  be  called  demons.  Europeans  often  visualized  demons  as  black, 
like  Negroes.2  On  the  other  hand,  dark-skinned  people  like  the 
Singhalese  maintained  that  demons  were  white  and  hairy.* 

According  to  St.  Thomas  Aquinas,  all  bad  weather  and  natural 
catastrophes  were  brought  about  by  demons.  He  said,  "It  is  a  dogma 
of  faith  that  demons  can  produce  wind,  storms,  and  rain  of  fire  from 
heaven."  Pope  Eugene  IV  issued  a  bull  against  human  "agents  of 
Satan"  who  controlled  weather-demons.  Pope  John  XXII  complained 
of  wizards  who  tried  to  kill  him  through  the  agency  of  demons  they 
sent  into  mirrors  and  rings.4 

The  church  had  several  mutually  contradictory  theories  about  the 
origin  of  demons.  One  theory  said  they  were  the  rebellious  angels 
who  fell  with  Lucifer,  before  the  creation  of  Adam  and  Eve,  so  the 
principle  of  evil  was  ready  in  the  garden  of  Eden  to  play  the  tempter's 
role.  A  second,  incompatible  theory  said  demons  were  created  after 
human  beings.  They  were  begotten  by  the  angels  on  the  daughters  of 
men  (Genesis  6:4).  "The  majority  opinion  about  the  fall  of  the  angels, 
held  by  St.  Augustine  and  therefore  accepted  in  the  Middle  Ages, 
was  that  it  had  occurred  before  the  creation  of  Adam,  but  some  of  the 
old  notion  that  the  angels  had  fallen  through  lust  for  the  daughters  of 
men  persisted  to  reinforce  antifeminine  prejudices."5 


Demon  Some  authorities,  familiar  with  the  pagans'  animal  masks  and 

animal-headed  idols,  said  demons  were  an  animal-like  race  created 
^^^^^^^^^^^      separately  by  God,  ahd  readily  incarnate  in  animal  form.  Black  goats, 
bulls,  cats,  or  dogs  could  be  demons.  The  Gaelic  uile-bheist  (Yule- 
beast,  moon-calf)  was  called  a  demonic  animal.  St.  Ambrose  told  of  a 
certain  priest  who  exorcised  the  frogs  in  a  certain  marsh  to  stop  them 
from  croaking  during  mass.  A  thirteenth-century  bishop  of  Lausanne 
exorcised  all  the  eels  in  Lake  Leman.6  St.  Augustine  confidently 
asserted  that  demons  help  sorcerers  to  perform  their  magic,  and  have 
the  power  to  assume  many  animal  shapes.7 

At  Basel  in  1474,  a  rooster  committed  the  unnatural  crime  of 
laying  an  egg.  It  was  decided  that  the  bird  possessed  a  demon,  but 
exorcism  failed  to  remove  it.  So  the  unfortunate  rooster  was  solemnly 
sentenced  to  death  by  church  authorities,  and  burned  at  the  stake.8 

Greeks  still  believe  in  the  half-horse  demons,  kallikantzari,  de- 
scended from  ancient  centaurs  and  the  shape-shifting  horse-wizards 
of  India,  the  kinnaras,  "canterers"  who  used  to  live  on  the  holy 
moilntain  of  Mandara.9  Their  descendants  perhaps  founded  the  city 
of  Kallipolis  (Gallipoli).  Their  chief  is  still  called  the  Lame  Devil, 
recalling  lame  Amazonian  smith-gods  like  Hephaestus.  Until  recently 
it  was  thought  any  child  born  on  Christmas  Day  would  become  a 
kalhkantzaros.w  A  cruel  custom  arose  from  this  belief.  Children  born 
on  Christmas  Day  were  carried  to  the  market  square,  where  their  feet 
were  thrust  into  a  fire  until  the  toenails  were  singed.11  The  magical 
purpose  of  this  may  have  been  to  destroy  the  horse-demons'  "hoofs." 

Records  of  witch  trials  show  that  almost  any  kind  of  animal  could 
be  perceived  as  a  demon.  Witches  were  executed  because  a  neigh- 
bor's child  was  frightened  by  "the  devil  in  the  shape  of  a  dog";  or 
because  a  man  saw  "a  Thing  like  unto  a  rat"  run  out  of  a  woman's 
house;  or  because  a  woman  kept  "two  devils  in  the  form  of  colts";  or  be- 
cause a  neighbor  saw  "the  devil  in  the  form  of  a  toad"  in  a  woman's 
garden;  or  because  a  traveler  saw  "a  Thing  like  a  black  cow"  near  the 
house  of  the  accused;  or  because  children  heard  a  woman  "talk  to  the 
devil  in  the  form  of  a  frog."  One  woman  was  condemned  because 
neighbors  heard  near  her  house  at  night  a  "foul  yelling,  like  a  number 
of  cats."  No  one  seems  to  have  suggested  that  the  yelling  was  in  fact 
done  by  cats,  not  demons. 

Ursula  Kemp  was  hanged  in  1 581  on  the  evidence  of  her  own  8- 
year-old  son,  who  testified  that  she  kept  four  demons:  two  cats,  a 
toad,  and  a  black  lamb.12  Not  once  in  the  recorded  trials  did  authorities 
question  witnesses'  ability  to  distinguish  these  demons  from  ordinary 
animals.  It  was  taken  for  granted  that  anyone,  even  a  small  child,  could 
recognize  His  Satanic  Majesty  no  matter  how  cleverly  he  disguised 
himself  as  an  apparently  normal  beast. 

Several  popes  were  believed  to  have  familiar  demons  of  their  own, 
particularly  the  famous  Honorius,  long  remembered  as  a  magician. 
During  the  controversy  between  Pope  Boniface  VIII  and  Philip  IV  of 


France,  the  king  held  an  assembly  that  formally  deposed  the  pope  Demon 

and  presented  evidence  to  prove  that  he  was  a  sorcerer  with  a  familiar 

spirit.13  ^^_— ^_^____ 

Sometimes,  in  the  description  of  demons,  imagination  failed  and 
had  to  fall  back  on  popular  make-believe.  One  poor  wretch  named 
Margot  de  la  Barre  was  burned  at  Paris  in  1 391  for  calling  up  a  demon 
"in  the  name  of  the  Father  and  the  Son  and  the  Holy  Spirit."  Pressed 
to  describe  the  demon — under  the  stimulus  of  torture — she  could  think 
of  nothing  better  to  say  than  that  he  had  "the  shape  that  demons  take 
in  Passion  plays." 14 

It  was  often  assumed  that  demons  congregated  especially  in  and 
around  churches,  for  some  inexplicable  reason.  Churches  had  to  be 
exorcised  at  their  dedication.  Crosses  were  painted  on  the  walls  "to 
terrify  the  demons." 1S 

Houses  were  similarly  protected  by  many  crosses  and  crucifixes 
but,  nevertheless,  harbored  many  demons,  a  belief  that  betrayed  little 
trust  in  the  alleged  powers  of  the  crucifix.  The  custom  of  ringing  church 
bells  at  the  time  of  a  death  was  supposed  to  drive  away  demons  "who 
stood  at  the  bed's  foot,  and  about  the  house,  ready  to  seize  their  prey,  or 
at  least  to  molest  and  terrify  the  soul  in  its  passage,  but  by  the  ringing 
of  that  bell  (for  Durandus  informs  us  evil  spirits  are  much  afraid  of 
bells),  they  were  kept  aloof:  and  the  soul,  like  a  hunted  hare,  gained 
the  start."  Tolling  the  church's  largest  bell  commanded  a  higher  price, 
"for  that,  being  louder,  the  evil  spirits  must  go  farther  off,  to  be  clear 
of  its  sound,  by  which  the  poor  Soul  got  so  much  more  the  start  of 
them." 16 

Before  the  witchcraft  mania  set  in  about  the  12th  and  1 3th 
centuries,  there  was  a  general  understanding  that  demons  were 
nothing  more  than  the  old  gods  and  goddesses,  all  of  whom  had  animal 
incarnations  of  some  kind.  Christian  fathers  insisted  that  the  pagan 
deities  were  not  figments  of  imagination,  but  real,  living  demons. 
Learned  men  even  in  the  19th  century  still  believed  this.  Rawlinson, 
the  translator  of  Herodotus,  was  sure  the  oracle  at  Delphi  was  an  evil 
spirit.17  An  early  medieval  baptismal  formula  demanded  renunciation 
of  "relations  with  the  demon,"  defining  the  old  religion  as  "works  of  the 
demon,  and  all  his  words,  and  Thor,  and  Odin,  and  Saxnot,  and  all 
evil  beings  that  are  like  them." 18  Such  formalities  were  largely  ignored. 
Centuries  later,  holiday  dancers  included  personifications  of  the 
Horned  God  and  the  Scandinavian  Julebuk  (Yule  Buck),  which  church- 
men denounced  as  "the  devil  himself." 19  Monastic  writers  of  the 
1 1th  century  spoke  of  many  demons  who  constantly  tempted  people 
away  from  the  church,  showing  them  "delights  and  secrets,  such  as 
how  they  might  become  immortal."20  It  was  clear  that  they  spoke  of  a 
rival  religion. 

A  Spanish  Dominican,  Raymond  of  Tarrega,  said  demons  were 
useful  for  punishing  sinners  in  hell;  like  angels,  demons  performed 
God's  will.  It  was  permissible  to  adore  demons  "so  long  as  we  adore,  not 


Denis,  Saint  their  evil,  but  their  existence,  which  was  given  them  by  God.  It  is  not 

Devi  desirable  to  sacrifice  to  demons,  but  to  do  so  is  no  more  serious  than 

^^^^^^^^^^^      adoring  an  image  of  Christ  or  of  the  saints."21  Later  this  opinion  was 
rejected,  and  the  Inquisition  burned  Raymond's  book. 

I.  Rose,  1 10,  137.  2.  J.B.  Russell,  1 14.  3.  Briffault  3,  283. 

4.  White  1,337,  351,  384.  5.  J.B.  Russell,  108-9.  6.  White  2, 113. 

7.  J.B.  Russell,  56.  8.  H.  Smith,  294.  9.  O'Flaherty,  275.  10.  Lawson,  190. 

II.  Summers,  V,  184.  12.  Ewen,  157.  13.  J.B.  Russell,  187. 
14.  J.B.  Russell,  214.  Voragine,  776.  16.  Ha/litt,  479. 

17.  Halliday,  119.  18.  J.B.  Russell,  16,  67.  19.  Miles,  202.  20.  Joyce  1,  256. 
21.  J.B.  Russell,  206. 

Denis,  Saint 

Christianized  form  of  the  god  Dionysus  in  Paris.  Like  Orphic  shrines 
of  Dionysus,  the  shrine  of  St.  Denis  featured  an  oracular  head.  It  was 
claimed  that,  having  been  beheaded  at  Montmartre  (Martyr's 
Mount),  Denis  then  carried  his  own  head  to  his  abbey.1 

Some  churchmen  said  Denis-Dionysus  died  in  250  a.d.;  others 
assigned  him  to  the  1st  century;  still  others  confused  him  with  the 
equally  mythical  Dionysius  the  Areopagite.  His  two  "companions  in 
martyrdom"  Rusticus  and  Eleutherius  were  only  alternate  epithets  of 
the  god  Dionysus.2 

1.  Tuchman,  p.  309.  2.  Attwater,  p.  104. 


"Whale  of  Der,"  a  title  of  the  Babylonian  Fish-goddess,  said  to  be  the 
mother  of  Babylon's  foundress,  Queen  Semiramis  (Sammuramat).1 
Derceto  was  the  prototype  of  Jonah's  whale,  being  the  Great  Fish 
who  swallowed  and  gave  rebirth  to  the  solar  god  Oannes,  or  Joannes 
(Jonah).  See  Fish. 

1.  Baring-Gould,  C.M.M.A.,  497. 


"Goddess,"  the  Sanskrit  root  word  for  many  Indo-European  names 
for  the  Great  Mother.  The  teachings  of  Krishna  or  Shiva  were  ad- 
dressed to  the  Devi  as  interrogator  of  the  catechism;  she  was  also 
addressed  as  Dearly  Beloved,  the  Shakti,  a  convention  copied  by  the 
New  Testament.  Krishna's  virgin  mother  was  her  "maiden"  form, 
Devaki.  The  Goddess's  title  as  "the  Way  leading  to  the  Gods"  was 
Devayani,  the  Divine  Yoni.  As  the  virgin  mother  of  Mahavira  she 
was  Devananda,  "Blessed  Goddess." '  A  Czech  name  for  the  Moon- 
goddess,  Devana,  came  from  the  same  root,  as  also  the  Latin  Diana, 



Minoan  Diwija,  Serbian  Diiwica,  and  the  Roman  Diviana — all  mean- 
ing "The  Divinity."2 

I.  Larousse,  347.  2.  Thorsten,  361. 



The  words  "devil"  and  "divinity"  grew  from  the  same  root,  Indo- 
European  devi  (Goddess)  or  deva  (God),  which  became  daeva  (devil)  in 
Persian.1  Old  English  divell  (devil)  can  be  traced  to  the  Roman 
derivative  divus,  divi:  gods.2  Thus  it  seems  that,  from  the  beginning, 
gods  and  devils  were  often  confused  with  one  another. 

Divine  and  devilish  were  relative  terms,  as  the  primary  sense  of 
Hebrew  words  for  "good"  and  "evil"  really  meant  "beneficial"  and 
"hurtful."3  Gods  did  "evil"  things  if  angered;  devils  could  do  "good" 
things  if  they  were  pleased.  One  man's  god  was  his  enemy's  devil. 
Armenians  used  to  sacrifice  one  sheep  to  Christ  at  Easter  time  and  thirty 
sheep  to  the  devil,  on  the  theory  that  the  devil's  influence  in  the  here 
and  now  was  greater.4 

Such  thinking  was  not  unusual.  Devils  were  often  credited  with 
beneficent  magic.  There  was  a  devil  who  "maketh  men  witty,  turneth 
all  metals  into  the  coin  of  the  dominion,  turneth  water  into  wine,  and 
wine  into  water,  and  blood  into  wine,  and  wine  into  blood,  and  a 
fool  into  a  wise  man — and  he  leads  33  legions  of  demons."  Another 
devil  "perfectly  teaches  the  virtues  of  the  stars,  he  transformeth  men, 
he  giveth  dignities,  prelacies,  and  confirmations."  Another  devil  "talketh 
of  divine  virtue,  he  giveth  true  answers  of  things  present,  past,  and  to 
come,  and  of  the  divinity,  and  of  the  creation,  he  deceiveth  none,  nor 
suffereth  any  to  be  tempted;  he  giveth  dignities  and  prelacies." 5 

Even  early  Christians  admitted  that  the  "devils"  worshipped  in 
pagan  temples  were  known  to  restore  the  sick  to  health.6  Tertullian 
said,  Diabolus  simia  Dei,  the  Devil  imitates  God;  but  in  point  of 
chronology  there  was  some  doubt  about  who  was  imitating  whom.7 

Judeo-Christian  tradition  attributed  many  "diabolic"  acts  to  God. 
He  was  the  sender  of  pestilence  and  famine.  He  created  a  terrible 
hell,  and  its  demons,  who  tortured  human  souls  on  his  orders.  He 
caused  violent  storms,  which  were  (and  still  are)  called  "acts  of  God." 
From  the  1 5  th  century  on,  the  church  sold  waxen  cakes,  the  Agnus 
Dei,  stamped  with  a  cross  and  advertised  as  sure  protection  against 
storms  and  other  "acts  of  God";  thus  God  was  incongruously  invoked  to 
combat  himself.8 

God  even  killed  himself  in  the  person  of  Christ,  according  to  the 
pieological  dogma  that  they  were  one  and  the  same.  On  the  other 
Biand,  some  claimed  Christ  was  killed  by  "devilish"  Jews.  Though  Jews 
(were  carrying  out  God's  ordained  scheme  of  salvation,  and  doing 

Tertullian  (Quintus 
Septimius  Florens 
Tertullianus)  Influential 
early  Christian  writer 
and  father  of  the 
church,  ca.  155-220 
a.d.,  born  in  Carthage 
of  pagan  parents. 


Devil  God's  will  by  executing  Jesus,  nevertheless  theology  exonerated  God 

and  blamed  them.  Though  the  Old  Testament  God  did  much  "evil," 
^^^^^^^^^^—      even  destroying  many  thousands  of  his  own  helpless  worshippers  for 
trivial  offenses  (1  Samuel  6:19),  yet  churchmen  seldom  dared  to 
accept  the  Bible's  own  presentation  of  God  as  the  maker  of  evil:  "I  form 
the  light,  and  create  darkness;  I  make  peace,  and  create  evil;  I  the 
Lord  do  all  these  things"  (Isaiah  45:7).  On  the  basis  of  this  scripture, 
some  advanced  the  theory  that  God  had  deliberately  created  the  devil 
before  the  beginning  of  the  world,  because  a  pre-existing  evil  principle 
was  necessary  to  "test  the  faith"  of  the  future  human  race.9  Yet 
somehow,  to  make  a  devil  was  not  evil  if  God  did  it. 

The  Persians  believed  God  and  the  devil  were  twin  brothers,  born 
simultaneously  from  the  womb  of  the  dualistic  mother  of  Infinite 
Time,  Zurvan.  The  devil  (Ahriman)  was  cast  down  from  heaven  to  the 
underworld  only  because  his  sacrifice,  like  Cain's,  was  not  acceptable 
to  the  older  deity.  The  heavenly  god  (Ahura  Mazda)  continued  to  reign 
in  the  heights  because  he  knew  how  to  make  the  right  sacrifices. 

But  the  devil,  not  the  god,  was  the  true  creator  of  the  earth  and  all 
creatures  in  the  mundane  world  of  matter.  Thus  the  Magi  prayed  to 
him  for  assistance  in  all  worldly  endeavors,  and  revered  him  as  the 
source  of  their  magic  powers.  Ahriman  was  worshipped  in  Roman 
times  throughout  northern  Europe,  identified  with  all  chthonian  gods 
like  Pluto,  Saturn,  or  Dis  Pater.10  In  early  Christian  mystery-plays  he 
appeared  as  a  wonder-working  spirit,  one  Saint  Mahown.11 

The  Christian  devil  became  a  composite  of  ancient  deities  in  a 
single  Protean  form.  He  had  the  goat-horns  and  hoofs  of  satyr-gods 
like  Pan,  Marsyas,  and  Dionysus;  the  trident  of  Neptune,  Hades,  or 
Shiva;  the  reptilian  form  of  Leviathan,  Python,  or  Ouroborus;  the 
fiery  form  of  Agni  or  Helios;  the  female  breasts  of  Astarte-Ishtar;  the 
wolf  face  of  Dis,  Feronius,  or  Fenrir;  the  quadruple  wings  of 
Babylonian  cherubim;  the  bird  claws  of  ancestral  spirits,  the  aves;  and  all 
the  god-names  Christians  had  ever  heard,  including  many  secret 
names  of  their  own  God:  Jupiter,  Mercury,  Minerva,  Venus,  Hades, 
Pluto,  Baal-Zebub,  Lucifer,  Zeus  Chthonios,  Sabazius,  Belial,  Ado- 
nis, Sabaoth,  Iao,  Soter,  Emmanuel,  Sammael.12  The  devil  could  take 
any  shape,  even  a  human  one:  Pope  Gregory  IX  described  him  as  "a 
pale,  black-eyed  youth  with  a  melancholy  aspect." 1?  At  other  times  he 
was  an  animal  composite,  as  on  the  Amulet  of  Bes: 

Naked  genius  with  the  head  of  Bes,  flanked  by  seven  heads  of  animals 
among  whom  are  bull,  lion,  and  ibis,  and  surmounted  by  atef  crown 
with  several  horns;  four  wings;  falcon-tail  and  crocodile-tail;  four  arms — 
two  arms  stretched  out  along  the  wings  hold  lances  and  serpents,  while 
the  third  on  the  left  seizes  a  lion,  the  fourth  on  the  right  holds  sceptre  and  I 
whip.  The  erect  penis  ends  in  a  lionhead;  there  are  lionmasks  on  the 
knees,  the  feet  are  given  the  form  of  jackal-heads  with  pointed  ears  and 
prolonged  as  coiled  snakes.  Bes  stands  on  an  ouroboros  (cosmic 
serpent)  which  contains  various  animals:  scorpion,  crocodile,  tortoise. M  I 


The  devil's  popular  nickname  Old  Scratch  came  from  a  Germanic  Devil 

wood-spirit  called  a  Scrat  or  Waldscrat,  sometimes  a  protector  of 

households  known  as  Schraetlin  or  "little  Scrat."  The  spirit  inhabited  

a  phallic  amulet  based  on  the  bisexual  lingam-yoni,  as  suggested  by 
Anglo-Saxon  scritta,  Old  English  scrat,  a  hermaphrodite.  Another 
nickname  of  the  devil,  Deuce,  came  from  Gaulish  gods  called  Dusii,  a 
variation  oldeus,  "god."  Again  there  was  a  hermaphroditic  connota- 
tion, since  "deuce"  also  meant  "two." 15 

Some  demonologists  postulated  seven  devils,  one  for  each  of  the 
seven  deadly  sins:  Lucifer  (pride),  Mammon  (avarice),  Asmodeus 
(lechery),  Satan  (anger),  Beelzebub  (gluttony),  Leviathan  (envy)  and 
Belphegor  (sloth).  Belial,  a  slightly  less  prestigious  spirit,  governed 
such  "vessels  of  iniquity"  as  playing  cards  and  dice.16 

"Devils"  and  "the  devil"  were  interchangeable.  The  devil  was 
one,  and  also  many:  a  monotheistic  transformation  of  a  polytheistic 
concept.  Christian  nations  asserted  that  all  other  nations  worshipped 
"devils"  or  "the  devil"  under  many  names.  A  16th-century  list  of 
devil-worshipping  countries  included:  Tartary,  China,  Lapland,  Fin- 
land, the  Northern  Islands,  the  East  Indies,  Persia,  Arabia,  Anatolia, 
Egypt,  Ethiopia,  Turkey,  Russia,  and  Norway.17  According  to  the  18th- 
century  German  theologian  Johann  Beaumont,  any  person  anywhere 
in  the  world  who  "confesseth  not  that  Jesus  Christ  is  come  in  the  flesh" 
belongs  to  the  devils.18 

As  God  incarnated  himself  in  earthly  flesh,  so  the  devil  was 
supposed  to  incarnate  himself  in  earthly  flesh  shortly  before  the 
coming  of  doomsday.  This  demonic  being  was  usually  called  Antichrist. 
He  would  be  known  by  his  Christlike  ability  to  perform  healing 
miracles,  such  as  restoring  sight  to  the  blind.19  It  was  never  explained 
how  these  demonic  miracles  were  to  be  distinguished  from  holy  ones. 
The  coming  of  Antichrist  was  constantly  announced,  dozens  of  times  in 
j  each  century.  Canon  Moreau  and  contemporary  churchmen  report- 
ed that  Antichrist  was  born  in  1 599  at  Babylon,  where  the  Jews 
acclaimed  him  as  their  Messiah.20  Apparently  he  was  identified  with 
the  Messianic  Elijah  for  whom  the  Jews  looked  each  year  at  Passover. 

If  there  were  any  devilish  attributes  on  which  most  myths  agreed, 
they  were  the  rather  godlike  qualities  of  (1)  superhuman  intelligence, 
and  (2)  superhuman  sexuality.  Inquisitor  Jean  Bodin  wrote,  "It  is 
certain  that  the  devils  have  a  profound  knowledge  of  all  things.  No 
theologian  can  interpret  the  Holy  Scriptures  better  than  they  can;  no 
lawyer  has  more  detailed  knowledge  of  testaments,  contracts  and 
actions;  no  physician  or  philosopher  can  better  understand  the  composi- 
tion of  the  human  body,  and  the  virtues  of  the  heavens,  the  stars, 
birds  and  fishes,  trees  and  herbs,  metals  and  stones."  Inquisitor  Nicholas 
Remy  said  the  devil  had  complete  knowledge  of  everything  human 
beings  could  not  explain.  "Everything  which  is  unknown  lies  ...  in  the 
cursed  domain  of  demonology;  for  there  are  no  unexplained  facts. 
Whatever  is  not  normal  is  due  to  the  Devil."21 


Devil  No  Christian  was  permitted  to  disbelieve  in  the  devil.  His  credibility 

rested  on  the  same  foundation  as  that  of  God.  Indeed,  the  very 
^^^^^^^^^^^m      concept  of  salvation  depended  on  the  devil.  If  there  had  been  no 
Tempter,  there  was  no  original  sin,  no  fall,  no  hell,  no  need  of  a 
redeemer  or  a  church.  De  Givry  correctly  said,  "If  the  Satanic  concept 
is  tampered  with,  the  whole  edifice  laboriously  erected  by  the  Fathers 
of  the  Church  crumbles  to  the  ground."22 

The  devil  was  essential  to  the  dualistic  theology  that  Christianity 
copied  from  Persia.  If  the  world  was  divided  between  the  forces  of 
good  and  evil,  an  evil  deity  was  necessary,  otherwise  evil  would  have  to 
be  blamed  on  God.  Logically,  a  god  couldn't  be  both  all-good  and  all- 
powerful.  If  God  could  make  a  world  without  evil,  and  would  not,  he 
couldn't  be  all-good.  If  God  wanted  to  make  a  world  without  evil, 
and  could  not,  he  couldn't  be  all-powerful.  The  only  solution — not  a 
good  one,  but  the  only  possible  one — was  to  supply  God  with  an 
evenly  matched  adversary,  to  be  responsible  for  evil.  Thus  theologians 
thought  it  the  worst  heresy,  "contrary  to  the  true  faith,"  to  suggest 
that  devils  existed  only  in  the  ignorant  imagination.23  The  devil  was  so 
real  to  Martin  Luther  that  he  accosted  him  one  evening  and  threw  an 
inkpot  at  him.24 

It  was  a  severe  theological  problem  to  account  for  God's  apparent 
helplessness  to  halt  the  devil's  activity.  Though  Lucifer  or  Satan  was 
supposed  to  have  been  utterly  defeated  and  immobilized  during  the 
famous  War  in  Heaven,  yet  he  was  so  lively  that  the  War  seemed  to 
have  caused  him  nothing  more  than  a  momentary  inconvenience. 
Theologians  could  only  propose  that  God  "permitted"  the  devil's 
freedom  of  action.  They  said,  "It  is  not  the  witch's  ointment  nor  her 
incantation  that  makes  her  forked  stick  fly  through  the  air,  but  the 
power  of  the  devil,  allowed  by  God."25  They  never  explained  why  the 
church  punished  what  God  allowed. 

Much  semantic  hairsplitting  went  into  defining  relationships  be- 
tween the  devil,  God,  and  humanity,  such  as  the  distinction  between 
sorcery  and  witchcraft.  Sorcery  was  evoking  spirits  to  "carry  out  those 
powers  which  God  permitted  the  Devil."  Witchcraft  was  evoking 
spirits  to  "commit  acts  against  His  ruling."  In  practice,  a  man  who  asked 
the  devil  to  help  him  seduce  a  woman  was  not  guilty  of  any  crime, 
because  sex  was  under  the  devil's  jurisdiction,  by  God's  order.  Devils 
who  killed  children  did  nothing  sinful,  for  God  permitted  them  to  kill 
children  "in  order  to  punish  their  parents."26  On  the  other  hand,  a 
woman  who  tried  to  save  her  dying  child  with  witch-herbs  was 
mortally  guilty  and  deserved  the  death  penalty.27 

Theologians  argued  that  all  works  of  witches  were  brought  about 
by  the  devil  with  God's  permission.  Even  a  witch  who  did  only  good 
works,  like  healing  the  sick,  must  suffer  the  same  death  as  a  witch  whose 
acts  were  harmful.28  Thus  witches  were  placed  in  a  no-win  situation. 
Once  a  man  beat  a  witch  for  casting  a  spell  on  his  son,  and  forced  her  to 
remove  the  spell.  Pope  Benedict  XIV  ruled  that  the  witch  committed 


a  double  sin  by  using  the  devil's  power  twice,  even  though  she  did  it 
under  coercion  the  second  time.  Benedict  carefully  stipulated  that  the 
man  who  beat  her  was  entirely  innocent  of  wrongdoing.29 

The  church  created  the  idea  that  witches  were  the  devil's  helpers, 
involved  in  a  vast  plot  to  undermine  Christian  society.  This  theory 
was  the  real  root  of  the  witch  mania.  The  people  were  generally 
indifferent  to  the  priests'  witch-hunting  until  this  theory  was  forced 
on  them  by  propaganda  from  the  pulpit,  which  deliberately  played  on 
their  fear  of  the  devil  after  stimulating  it  in  the  first  place.50 

It  sometimes  happened  that  churchmen  themselves  consulted  the 
devil,  without  paying  the  same  penalties  they  inflicted  on  lay  persons. 
Some  miracle-working  heretics  were  convicted  by  the  bishop  of  Besan- 
con  in  1 1 70,  on  the  evidence  of  none  other  than  Satan,  interviewed 
by  the  bishop  with  the  help  of  a  priest  skilled  in  necromancy.  Satan 
assured  the  bishop  that  the  accused  were  indeed  his  servants,  so  they 
were  sent  to  the  stake.31 

The  devil  was  useful  to  clergymen — or  anyone  else — seeking  an 
excuse  for  lecherous  behavior.  According  to  one  story: 

The  devil  transformed  himself  into  the  appearance  of  St.  Silvanus,  Bishop 
of  Nazareth,  a  friend  of  St.  Jerome.  And  this  devil  approached  a  noble 
woman  by  night  in  her  bed  and  began  first  to  provoke  and  entice  her  with 
lewd  words,  and  then  invited  her  to  perform  the  sinful  act.  And  when 
she  called  out,  the  devil  in  the  form  of  the  saintly  Bishop  hid  under  the 
woman 's  bed,  and  being  sought  for  and  found  there,  he  in  lickerish 
language  declared  lyingly  that  he  was  Bishop  Silvanus.  On  the  morrow 
therefore,  when  the  devil  had  disappeared,  the  holy  man  was  scandal- 
ously defamed. 32 

Some  sly  fellows  used  the  devil  to  defraud.  There  was  a 
Cornishman  who  convinced  his  neighbors  that  he  had  sold  his  soul  to 
the  devil.  Taking  a  few  coins  to  the  tavern  each  night,  he  pretended 
to  receive  money  from  the  devil  to  pay  for  his  drink.  He  would  thrust  his 
hat  up  the  chimney,  calling  on  his  diabolic  friend;  and  the  coins 
appeared  in  his  hat.  The  superstitious  innkeeper  wouldn't  touch  the 
devil's  money,  so  the  Cornishman  drank  all  evening  for  free.35 

The  devilish  pact  was  not  a  joke,  however;  it  was  an  essential 
ingredient  of  the  devil-mythology  that  killed  millions  during  six 
centuries  of  witch-hunting.  Yet  it  was  logically  absurd.  If  the  devil 
received  the  soul  of  every  sinner,  as  the  church  taught,  he  had  no 
need  to  secure  it  with  a  "pact";  it  would  be  his  anyway.  As  for  the 
sinners  themselves,  they  seemed  to  derive  little  benefit  from  their  side 
of  the  contract,  as  Scot  pointed  out:  any  woman  in  her  right  mind  would 
reject  the  devil's  bargain,  saying,  "Why  should  I  hearken  to  you, 
when  you  will  deceive  me?  Did  you  not  promise  my  neighbor  Mother 
Dutton  to  save  and  rescue  her;  and  yet  lo  she  is  hanged?" 34 

Early  in  the  Christian  era  there  were  no  very  severe  punishments 
for  making  a  pact  with  the  devil.  The  Golden  Legend  tells  of  a  young 
man  who  signed  over  his  soul  to  the  devil  to  win  the  love  of  a  certain 



Devil  lady.  Later,  St.  Basil  prayed  over  the  young  man  and  retrieved  his 

contract,  a  piece  of  paper  which  dropped  from  an  upper  balcony  of  the 

^^^^^^^^^^_      church,  "fluttered  down  through  the  air  and  fell  into  his  hands,  in  the 
sight  of  all."  The  paper  was  torn  up  and  the  youth  set  free.55 

Several  popes  were  said  to  have  made  a  diabolic  pact,  including 
one  who  may  have  ideological  roots  in  a  genuine  pagan  tradition: 
Silvester  II.  His  real  name  was  Gerbert  de  Aurillac.  He  grew  up  in  a 
France  still  permeated  by  Dianic  and  druidic  fairy-religion,  where 
Aphrodite  was  worshipped  at  Rouen  up  to  the  12th  century,  and  the 
Moon-goddess's  groves  attracted  pilgrims  up  to  the  14th.  Silvester 
chose  a  papal  name  meaning  "spirit  of  the  grove,"  and  it  was  said  he 
had  a  fairy  mistress  named  Meridiana  (Mary-Diana),  who  taught  him 
the  secrets  of  magic.36  According  to  Cardinal  Benno  and  William  of 
Malmesbury,  Silvester  signed  a  pact  with  the  devil  to  achieve  the 
papal  throne,  and  the  devil  gave  it  to  him.37 

The  truth  about  Pope  Silvester  was  that  he  had  unusually  intellec- 
tual tastes  for  his  time.  He  remarked  that,  for  the  frustrations  and 
difficulties  of  his  life,  "philosophy  was  the  only  cure."38  In  his  time, 
"philosophy"  didn't  mean  Christian  theology.  It  meant  pagan  litera- 
ture, natural  science,  and  Hermetism. 

The  list  of  great  wen  in  those  centuries  charged  with  magic .  . .  is 
astounding;  it  includes  every  man  of  real  mark,  and  in  the  midst  of 
them  stands  one  of  the  most  thoughtful  popes,  Silvester  II  (Gerbert),  and 
the  foremost  of  medieval  thinkers  on  natural  science,  Albert  the  Great. 
It  came  to  be  the  accepted  idea  that,  as  soon  as  a  man  conceived  a  wish  to 
study  the  works  of  God,  his  first  step  must  be  a  league  with  the  devil. 39 

Another  "devilish"  philosopher  was  Heinrich  Cornelius  Agrip- 
pa  von  Nettesheim,  historiographer  to  Emperor  Charles  V,  author  of 
the  famous  treatise  on  Hermetism,  De  occulta  philosophia.  The 
church  execrated  his  works  and  severely  reprimanded  him  for  trying  to 
defend  accused  witches,  but  his  wealthy  patrons  protected  him  from 
arrest:  only  once  he  was  imprisoned  for  debt,  not  heresy.40  He  called 
magic  the  perfect  science,  and  implied  as  the  Gnostic  heretics  did 
that  knowledge  came  to  man  not  as  a  gift  of  God  but  as  a  gift  of  the 

Agrippa's  life  story  contributed  to  the  legend  of  Faust,  around 
which  centered  many  thrilling  tales  of  the  devil's  pact.  The  real  Faust 
was  not  impressive.  As  an  obscure  schoolmaster  in  Kreuznach,  he  was 
dismissed  from  his  post  in  1 507  on  a  charge  of  sodomy.41  Six  years 
later  he  reappeared  as  an  astrologer  and  soothsayer  calling  himself  the 
Demigod  of  Heidelberg.  Later,  citizens  of  Munster  knew  him  as  "the 
famous  necromancer,  Dr.  Faustus."  Ultimately,  his  fame  rested  not  on 
any  of  his  doings  but  on  the  so-called  Faustian  books,  Hb'llenzwange, 
"Harrowings  of  Hell,"  which  he  didn't  write.  These  anonymous  works 
grew  into  a  large  body  of  literature  professing  to  tell  the  reader  how  to 
make  a  pact  with  the  devil,  work  magic,  find  buried  treasure,  win  love 
and  fortune,  and  finally  renounce  the  pact  in  time  to  save  one's  soul. 


Predictably,  such  books  were  enormously  popular.  Two  books  really 
written  by  Agrippa  von  Nettesheim  to  win  the  favor  of  Margaret  of 
Austria,  The  Superiority  of  Women  and  The  Nobility  of  the  Female 
Sex,  were  declared  heretical  and  forbidden  publication  by  the  clergy.42 

Magic  books  nearly  always  gave  formulae  for  negotiating  with  the 
devil.  Le  Dragon  Rouge  told  the  aspiring  wizard  to  address  "Emper- 
or Lucifer,  master  of  all  the  rebellious  spirits,"  and  his  ministers 
Lucifuge  Rofocale,  Prince  Beelzebub,  and  Count  Ashtoreth.4B  Mag- 
ic Papyri  that  had  been  early  models  for  these  books  often  confused  the 
names  and  attributes  of  Jehovah  and  Lucifer,  speaking  of  "God  the 
light-bringer  (Lucifer),  invincible,  who  knoweth  what  is  in  the  heart  of 
all  life,  who  of  the  dust  hath  formed  the  race  of  men."44  We  have 
seen  the  same  kind  of  confusion  in  Christian  theology  itself.  Yet  in 
14th-century  Toulouse,  witches  were  burned  for  saying  what  was 
actually  a  tenet  of  the  church's  dualism:  that  "God  and  the  Devil  were 
completely  equal,  the  former  reigning  over  the  sky  and  the  latter  the 
earth;  all  souls  which  the  Devil  managed  to  seduce  were  lost  to  the 
Most  High  God  and  lived  perpetually  on  earth  or  in  the  air."45 

Even  up  to  the  20th  century,  churchmen  insisted  on  the  devilish 
pact.  Father  Thurston  wrote:  "In  the  face  of  Holy  Scripture  and  the 
teaching  of  the  Fathers  and  theologians  the  abstract  possibility  of  a  pact 
with  the  Devil  and  of  a  diabolical  interference  in  human  affairs  can 
hardly  be  denied."46  But  the  Fathers  and  theologians  never  explained 
how  the  devil  could  profit  from  the  pact,  other  than  to  receive  a 
"soul"  that  was  his  anyway.  As  Samuel  Butler  said,  no  one  heard  the 
devil's  side  of  any  story,  because  God  wrote  all  the  books.47 

One  might  think  an  "enlightened"  modern  society  would  have 
given  up  the  idea  of  the  devil.  But  a  poll  taken  in  1978  showed  "two 
out  of  five  Americans  believe  in  devils."48  The  strange  viability  of  devils 
may  arise  from  their  usefulness  in  assuaging  the  guilt  of  God  and 
man.  "Both  Judaism  and  Christianity  have  maintained  that  God  must 
be  given  the  credit  for  all  the  goodness  in  human  history,  and  that 
men  must  take  the  blame  for  all  the  evil."49  Thus,  the  real  purpose  of 
the  devil  was  to  take  some  of  this  heavy  responsibility  off  frail  human 
shoulders.  In  short:  the  devil,  not  Christ,  was  the  true  scapegoat  who 
assumed  the  burden  of  men's  sins. 

1.  Larousse,  317.  2.  Scot,  444.  3.  Tennant,  13.  4.  Briffault  2,  564. 

5.  Scot,  323-25.  6.  J.H.  Smith,  C.G.,  287.  7.  Summers,  V,  56.  8.  H.  Smith,  276. 

9.  J.B.  Russell,  121.  10.  Reinach,  72.  11.  Hazlitt,  176. 

12.  de  Voragine,  670;  Wedeck,  95.  13.  Haining,  59. 

14.  Lindsay,  O. A.,  197.  15.  Knight,  D.W.P.,  152.  16.  Robbins,  127. 

17.  Scot,  521,  523.  18.  Silberer,  286.  19.  Gifford,  120. 

20.  Baring-Gould,  C.M.M.A.,  168.  21.  Robbins,  127, 408.  22.  de  Givry,  49. 

23.  Cavendish,  P.E.  24, 139.  24.  de  Givry,  139.  25.  Robbins,  213. 

26.  J.B.  Russell,  146.  27.  Haining,  85.  28.  Robbins,  213.  29.  Summers,  W,  36. 

30.  Robbins,  218.  31.  Lea,  2.  32.  Kramer  &  Sprenger,  134. 

33.  Hazlitt,  647.  34.  Scot.  40.  Voragine,  312.  36.  Gaster,  771. 

37.  Woods,  89.  38.  Encyc.  Brit,  "Silvester."  39.  White  1 ,  386. 

40.  Encyc.  Brit,  "Agrippa,  Heinrich  Cornelius."  41.  Encyc.  Brit,  "Faust." 

42.  Seligmann,  212.  43.  de  Givry,  1 17.  44.  Barrett,  32. 

45.  Baroja,  85.  46.  Summers,  H.W,  63.  47.  Ebon,  W.T.,  86. 

48.  Newsweek,  June  26, 1978,  32.  49.  Muller,  87. 


Le  Dragon  Rouge, 
ou  1'art  de 
commander  les 
esprits  celestes, 
aeriens,  terrestres, 
infernaux  A  grimoire 
published  at 
Avignon,  dated  1 522. 
The  date  may  have 
been  a  hoax,  the  actual 
publication  much 

Magic  Papyri 

Collections  of 
invocations,  charms, 
and  spells  widely 
circulated  during  the 
early  Christian  era, 
used  as  bases  for  later 
grimoires  and 
Hermetic  texts. 

Herbert  Thurston, 

S.J.  Early  20th-century 
writer  on  the  subject 
of  occultism. 


Diabokis  Diabolus 


Latin  name  of  the  devil,  "Serpent  of  the  Goddess."  Legend  said  the 
Great  Mother  made  her  serpent  consort  from  a  bolus  of  clay,  rolled 
between  her  hands  until  it  stretched  into  a  snake  form.  Then  she 
brought  it  to  life.1  Egyptians  said  Isis  made  a  clay  serpent  in  this  way, 
and  also  a  new  clay  phallus  for  Osiris.  With  this  phallus  that  she 
made,  she  conceived  Osiris's  reincarnated  persona,  the  infant  Horus. 

The  same  bolus  gave  rise  to  the  papal  "bull,"  through  the 
derivative  bulla,  a  coiled  clay  seal  on  a  document,  usually  stamped 
with  magical  signs  to  discourage  tampering.  The  bulla  was  also  a 
protective  amulet  worn  by  a  Roman  child  before  coming  of  age.2 

1.  Graves,  CM.  1,27.  2.Gifford,71. 


"Goddess-Universe,"  a  Pythagorean  and  Stoic  term  for  the  "order" 
imposed  on  the  elements  in  Primal  Chaos,  to  bring  about  the  creation 
of  the  world.  Like  the  name  of  the  abyssal  Mother,  Themis,  Kosmos 
meant  "correct  order"  and  was  used  by  Homer  to  mean  an  arrange- 
ment of  woman's  ornaments.1  The  philosophers'  idea  was  that  the 
Goddess  created  manifest  forms  for  her  own  adornment,  giving  rise  to 
all  the  material  world,  the  beauty  of  which  was  her  outer  garment  and 
jewels.  Her  true  spirit  moved  within  and  behind  these  things,  unseen. 
Through  the  life  of  the  universe  she  constantly  arranged  and  re- 
arranged the  outward  manifestations  of  her  "order"  to  make  infinite 
numbers  of  different  living  forms.  At  doomsday  she  destroyed  them 
all,  to  begin  over  with  the  next  creation.  See  Tohu  Bohu. 

1.  Lindsay,  O.A.,  75,  120. 


Literally,  "World-Goddess."  The  ancients  used  to  believe  gem 
stones  were  solidified  drops  of  the  divine  essence,  embedded  in  rocks 
when  the  world  was  created.  Diamonds  were  sacred  to  the  Mother  of 
the  gods  because  they  "ruled"  all  other  stones  by  their  superior 
hardness.  In  Tantric  Tibet,  the  divine  essence  of  the  Earth-goddess 
Tara  is  still  assumed  to  inhabit  her  human  incarnation,  the  Diamond 
Sow,  traditional  consort  or  feminine  counterpart  of  the  Dalai  Lama. 

Because  diamonds  were  sacred  to  the  supreme  Goddess,  they  were 
taken  over  by  the  cult  of  the  Virgin;  and  because  of  this  association 
with  virginity  they  came  to  be  considered  appropriate  betrothal  gifts.  In 
the  transition  from  Tarot  cards  to  modern  playing  cards,  diamonds 
replaced  the  ancient  suit  of  pentacles,  which  were  symbols  of  Mother 
Earth  (Tara)  and  of  the  feminine  earth  element. 




"Queen  of  Heaven,"  Roman  name  for  the  Triple  Goddess  as  (1) 
Lunar  Virgin,  (2)  Mother  of  Creatures,  and  (3)  the  Huntress  (Destroy- 
er). Her  Greek  name  was  Artemis.  Her  major  pilgrimage  centers 
were  Ephesus  and  Nemi,  the  Sacred  Grove.  She  was  Dione,  Diana 
Nemorensis,  or  Nemetona,  Goddess  of  the  Moon-grove.  In  her 
sanctuaries,  sacred  kings  periodically  engaged  in  combat,  the  loser  dying 
as  the  god  Hippolytus,  the  winner  invested  as  the  Goddess's  new 
favorite,  Virbius.  See  Hippolytus,  Saint. 

As  Diana  Egeria,  patroness  of  childbirth,  nursing,  and  healing,  the 
Goddess  made  Nemi's  holy  spring  the  Lourdes  of  pagan  Rome.1  The 
legendary  King  Numa  was  said  to  have  derived  all  his  wisdom  from  a 
sacred  marriage  with  her. 

Diana's  cult  was  so  widespread  in  the  pagan  world  that  early 
Christians  viewed  her  as  their  major  rival,  which  is  why  she  later 
became  "Queen  of  Witches."  The  Gospels  commanded  total  destruc- 
tion of  all  temples  of  Diana,  the  Great  Goddess  worshipped  by  "Asia 
and  all  the  world"  (Acts  19:27). 

Roman  towns  all  over  Europe  habitually  called  the  local  mother 
goddess  Diana,  as  later  Christian  towns  were  to  call  her  Madonna. 
Fortunatus  said  Diana  was  the  Goddess  worshipped  at  Vernemeton, 
"which  in  the  Gaulish  language  means  the  Great  Shrine."  In  the  5th 
century  a.d.,  the  Gauls  regarded  her  as  their  supreme  deity.  Christians 
spoke  slightingly  of  their  pagan  custom  of  adoring  the  spirit  of  Diana 
in  a  cut  branch  or  a  log  of  wood.2  Gozbert,  a  7th-century  Frankish 
chieftain,  doubted  the  claims  of  a  Christian  missionary  on  the  ground 
that  the  Christian  God  was  "no  better  than  our  own  Diana."3 

At  Ephesus,  the  Goddess  was  called  Mother  of  Animals,  Lady  of 
Wild  Creatures,  and  Many-Breasted  Artemis,  shown  with  her  entire 
torso  covered  with  breasts  to  nourish  the  world's  creatures.4  In  the  4th 
century  a.d.,  the  church  took  over  this  shrine  and  re-dedicated  it  to 
the  virgin  Mary.5  One  of  the  earliest  churches  devoted  to  "Our  Lady" 
existed  at  Ephesus  in  43 1 ;  but  most  of  the  people  believed  the  Lady 
was  Diana,  not  Mary.  In  432  the  Council  of  Ephesus  tried  to  eliminate 
worship  of  the  pagan  Goddess,  but  the  bishops  were  besieged  by 
crowds  demanding,  "Give  us  our  Diana  of  the  Ephesians!"6 

An  excuse  for  converting  Diana's  temples  into  Mary's  churches 
was  provided  by  a  made-to-order  legend  that  Mary  lived  at  Ephesus 
in  her  old  age.  Her  tomb  was  located  there,  and  some  Christians  even 
pointed  out  the  house  in  which  she  had  lived.7  But  sometimes  she 
was  identified  with  the  sinister  Widow  of  Ephesus,  a  Crone  aspect  of 
the  Goddess  showing  some  primitive  features. 

Petronius's  version  of  the  myth  said  the  Widow  hung  her  hus- 
band's dead  body  on  one  of  the  three  crosses  in  front  of  Diana's 
temple,  replacing  the  body  of  a  previously  crucified  thief.  Then  she  lay 
with  her  new  lover  at  the  foot  of  the  cross.8  The  parallel  between  this 
image  and  that  of  the  triple  Mary  at  the  foot  of  Jesus's  cross  was  too 


Venantius  Honorius 
Fortunatus  6th- 
century  poet,  bishop  of 
Poitiers,  still  venerated 
as  a  saint  in  France. 


Diana  close  for  comfort,  especially  since  Diana  herself  was  assimilated  to  the 

Christian  myth  as  Mary's  mother,  or  elder  self,  the  "Grandmother  of 
^^^^^^^^^^^      God"  under  the  name  of  either  Anna  (Hannah)  or  Di-anna 

Gnostic  Christians  called  their  Wisdom-goddess  Sophia  the  same 
Grandmother  of  God,  and  frequently  identified  her  with  Diana  of 
Ephesus.  When  Diana's  temple  was  finally  pulled  down,  as  the  Gospels 
ordered,  its  magnificent  porphyry  pillars  were  carried  to  Constantino- 
ple and  built  into  the  church  of  Holy  Sophia.10 

The  magic  of  Ephesus  was  remembered  through  the  Middle  Ages. 
A  writer  said  in  1725:  "It  is  recorded  in  divers  authors  that  in  the 
image  of  Diana,  which  was  worshipped  at  Ephesus,  there  were  certain 
obscure  words  or  sentences . . .  written  upon  the  feet,  girdle  and 
crown  of  the  said  Diana:  the  which,  if  a  man  did  use,  having  written 
them  out,  and  carrying  them  about  him,  he  should  have  good  luck  in 
all  his  businesses."11 

Some  Christians  even  remembered  that  Diana  was  once  the  triple 
deity  who  ruled  the  world.  A  14th-century  poem  attributed  to  the 
Bishop  of  Meaux  said  Diana  was  an  old  name  for  the  Trinity.12 

Officers  of  the  Inquisition  however  regarded  Diana  as  the  "God- 
dess of  the  heathen"  with  whom  witches  made  their  aerial  night 
journeys — or  thought  they  did.13  The  worship  of  Diana  was  denounced 
wherever  it  was  found,  even  when  the  worshippers  were  members  of 
the  clergy.  In  the  14th  century,  a  bishop  found  the  monks  of  Frithel- 
stock  Priory  worshipping  a  statue  of  "the  unchaste  Diana"  at  an  altar 
in  the  woods,  and  made  them  destroy  it.14  The  notorious  inquisitor 
Torquemada  declared  bluntly  that  Diana  is  the  devil.15 

Devil  or  not,  Diana  ruled  the  wild  forests  of  Europe  through  the 
medieval  period.  As  patron  of  the  forest  of  Ardennes  she  was  Dea 
Arduenna;  as  patron  of  the  Black  Forest  she  was  Dea  Abnoba.16 
Serbians,  Czechs,  and  Poles  knew  her  as  the  woodland  Moon- 
goddess  Diiwica,  Devana,  or  Dziewona.17  She  remained  the  Goddess 
of  wild  woodlands  and  hunting,  all  the  way  up  to  the  18th  century  in 

Dianic  rites  were  celebrated  even  in  church,  despite  objections 

from  the  clergy.  A  minister  wrote  against  the  traditional  parade  of  a 

stag's  head  into  St.  Paul's  Cathedral  in  London:  "bringing  in  procession 

into  the  church  the  head  of  a  deer,  fixed  on  the  top  of  a  long  spear  or 

pole,  with  the  whole  company  blowing  Hunters  Horns  in  a  sort  of 

hideous  manner;  and  with  this  rude  pomp  they  go  up  to  the  High 

Altar,  and  offer  it  there.  You  would  think  them  all  the  mad  Votaries  of 


l.Frazer,G.B.,5,10.  2.  Graves,  W.G.,  273-74.  3.  Reinach,  153. 

4.  Neumann,  G.M.,  pi.  35.  5.  Ashe,  185.  6.  Legman,  661.  7.  Ashe,  112, 185. 

8.  Legman,  650.  9.  Graves,  W.G,  411.  10.  J.H.  Smith,  C.G.,  234. 

11.  Hazlitt,  103.  12.  Seznec,  92-93.  13.  Kramer  &  Sprenger,  104. 

14.Lethbridge,71.  15.  J.B.  Russell,  235.  16.  Spence,  76.  17.  Larousse,  288. 

18.  Hazlitt,  484. 


Dictynna  Dictynna 

Title  of  Mother  Rhea  as  the  Lawgiving  Goddess  of  Mount  Dicte,  on  Diogenes 

Crete,  where  the  tablets  of  her  laws  and  "e-dicts"  were  given  to  Minoan       ^^mbm^^hm^m 
kings.1  "Dictate"  is  an  English  derivative  of  the  goddess's  directives 
from  Dicte. 

1 .  Larousse,  86. 


Priestess-queen  and  foundress  of  Carthage,  identified  with  Cyprian 
Aphrodite  and  the  Goddess  Tanit.  As  Dido-Anna  she  was  the  consort 
of  the  Tyrian  god  Melek-Heracles,  who  died  by  fire  as  a  sacrificial 
victim  each  year.  According  to  Roman  myth,  Dido  chose  Aeneas  as  her 
sacred  king  and  was  going  to  sacrifice  him,  but  he  escaped  and  fled, 
leaving  her  to  perish  in  his  place.  He  survived  to  become  the  founder  of 

Another  of  Dido's  names  was  Elissa,  "the  Goddess." 

Dike  var.  Dice 

Alternative  spelling  of  the  Greek  Fate-goddess  Tyche,  whom  the 
Orphics  called  Eurydice,  "Universal  Dike."  To  her  were  dedicated  the 
oracular  knucklebones  (dice)  used  to  select  sacrificial  victims  by  the 
rite  of  lots,  and  to  prophesy  the  future,  like  the  Hebrews'  sacred  urim 
and  thummim.  See  Orphism. 


Cynic  philosopher  who  lived  in  an  earthen  pot  at  the  door  of  the 
Great  Mother's  temple  and  constantly  looked  for  one  honest  man.1 
Cynics  were  "dogs"  or  "watchdogs"  of  the  Goddess,  as  their  name 
implies  (kynikos,  doglike  ones).  They  sought  an  honest  man  because 
they  believed  they  were  living  in  the  last  age  of  the  world,  and  the 
Goddess  would  destroy  it  when  there  was  not  one  honest  man  still  living 

Sin  it. 
This  matched  the  Oriental  concept  of  the  Kali  Yuga,  last  age  of 
I  the  world,  when  men  become  callous,  violent,  disorderly,  and  dishon- 
orable.2 When  these  conditions  were  completely  fulfilled,  doomsday 
was  imminent. 

The  word  "cynical"  descended  from  the  implication  that,  despite 
I  Diogenes's  lifelong  search,  he  never  found  the  one  honest  man 
whose  existence  still  prevented  the  earth's  destruction.  See  Dog. 

1.  Campbell,  Oc.M.,  244.  2.  Mahanirvanatantra,  52. 



Dionysius  Dionysius  the  Areopagite 

One  of  the  most  influential  Christian  writers  of  the  Middle  Ages, 
■■^^■■^^^^^■^      revered  for  his  mystical  insights,  knowledge  of  heavenly  matters,  and 
holy  life.  His  only  fault  was  that  he  never  existed. 

Dionysius's  works  were  forged  about  the  6th  century  a.d.  and 
palmed  off  as  the  work  of  one  Dionysius  the  first  bishop  of  Athens, 
supposedly  converted  to  Christianity  by  St.  Paul  personally,  during  the 
latter's  spirit-visit  to  Greece  as  a  ghost,  after  having  been  "caught  up 
to  the  third  heaven."  Paul  told  pseudo-Dionysius  about  heaven,  and 
pseudo-Dionysius  wrote  it  down  and  preached  it  from  the  Athenian 
Hill  of  Ares;  hence  his  title,  Areopagite. 

The  medieval  church  based  its  organization  of  three  sacraments, 
three  holy  orders,  and  three  lower  orders  on  the  spurious  revelations 
of  Dionysius,  in  imitation  of  the  heavenly  hierarchy  he  described, 
consisting  of  (1)  Seraphim,  Cherubim,  and  Thrones;  (2)  Dominions, 
Virtues,  and  Powers;  (3)  Principalities,  Archangels,  and  Angels.  The 
spirits  of  heaven  remained  thus  organized  all  the  way  up  to  the  18th 

Churchmen  reluctantly  abandoned  their  belief  in  the  authenticity 
of  Dionysius's  writings  when  it  was  pointed  out  that,  despite  earlier 
scholars'  unquestioning  acceptance,  they  failed  the  simplest  of  chrono- 
logical tests,  constantly  referring  to  events  and  institutions  of  much 
later  date  than  the  time  of  the  alleged  Dionysius.1  At  first  the  pious  tried 
to  pretend  these  references  were  miraculous  prophecies  of  the  future, 
but  this  defense  proved  untenable. 

1.  White  2,  315-16. 


Identified  with  many  other  savior-gods,  Dionysus  was  also  called 
Bacchus,  Zagreus,  Sabazius,  Adonis,  Antheus,  Zalmoxis,  Pentheus, 
Pan,  Liber  Pater,  or  "the  Liberator." l  His  totem  was  a  panther  (Pan- 
thereos,  the  Beast  of  Pan).  His  emblem  was  the  thyrsus,  a  phallic  scepter 
tipped  with  a  pine  cone.  His  priestesses  were  the  Maenads,  or 
Bacchantes,  who  celebrated  his  orgies  with  drunkenness,  nakedness,  and 
sacramental  feasting. 

Dionysus  is  often  presented  as  a  rustic  wine-god,  inventor  of 
viniculture.  He  was  more  than  that.  He  was  a  prototype  of  Christ, 
with  a  cult  center  at  Jerusalem  as  well  as  nearly  every  other  major  city  in 
the  middle  east.  Plutarch  said  the  Jewish  Feast  of  Tabernacles  was 
celebrated  in  his  honor:  "I  think  that  the  festival  of  the  Sabbath  is  not 
wholly  without  relation  to  the  festival  of  Dionysus."2  He  added  that 
the  Jews  abstain  from  pork  because  their  god  Dionysus-Adonis  (Lord 
Dionysus)  was  slain  by  a  boar.  In  the  1st  century  B.C.  the  Jews 
themselves  claimed  to  worship  Dionysus  under  his  Phrygian  name  of 
Zeus  Sabazius.5 

Tacitus  said  Dionysus  Liber  was  the  god  of  Jerusalem  in  a  former 


time,  but  a  different  god  had  replaced  him,  a  god  with  less  attractive  Dionysus 

characteristics:  "Liber  established  a  festive  and  cheerful  worship,  while 

the  Jewish  religion  is  tasteless  and  mean."4  Dionysus  and  Jehovah 

were  literally  two  sides  of  the  same  coin  in  the  5th  century  B.C.,  when  ^'"'^^^^^^^^ 

coins  found  near  Gaza  showed  Dionysus  on  one  side,  and  on  the 

other  a  bearded  figure  labeled  JHWH — Jehovah.5 

In  Lebanon,  Dionysus  was  incarnated  in  Ampelus,  a  "beautiful 
youth"  torn  to  pieces  by  a  bull  and  reincarnated  as  a  grapevine.  In 
Chios,  the  blood  of  men  murdered  by  Dionysus's  Maenads  was  used  to 
fertilize  the  vines.  At  Orchomenus,  the  Triple  Goddess  appeared  in 
Dionysian  rites  as  "three  princesses"  who  tore  apart  a  male  child  and  ate 
him  (the  earth  absorbing  sacrificial  blood).  In  Thebes,  a  king  named 
Pentheus  dared  to  oppose  the  Dionysian  cult,  perhaps  because  he  didn't 
care  to  die  like  other  Dionysian  god-kings.  But  the  women  tore  him 
to  pieces  anyway,  led  by  the  king's  own  mother  (or  mother-goddess), 
who  wrenched  his  head  off.6  Later  Theban  rites  of  Dionysus  cen- 
tered on  killing  and  eating  a  fawn  named  Pentheus,  and  the  Maenads 
wore  fawn  skins.  The  god's  Lydian  totem  was  a  fox,  Bassareus, 
forerunner  of  the  medieval  Reynard.  There  the  Maenads  called  them- 
selves Bassarids,  and  wore  fox  skins.7 

These  darker  legends  show  Dionysus's  typical  "savior"  pattern: 
first  and  most  primitive,  a  king  killed  and  cannibalized  to  provide  both 
the  earth  and  women's  wombs  with  fructifying  blood;  then  a  surrogate 
for  the  king,  a  condemned  criminal  or  a  young  man  chosen  by  lot; 
then  an  animal  substitute  for  the  man;  and  finally,  "flesh"  and  "blood" 
devoured  in  the  form  of  bread  and  wine,  the  classical  Dionysian 
sacrament  at  Eleusis. 

In  Palestine,  Dionysus  was  identified  with  Noah,  the  first  biblical 
patriarch  to  get  drunk  (Genesis  9:21).  His  Greek  title  was  Deucalion, 
"New-wine  sailor,"  the  flood  hero  in  pre-Hellenic  myths.8  Dionysus 
was  also  a  form  of  Adam,  offspring  of  Father  Heaven  and  Mother 
Earth  (Zeus  and  Demeter),  torn  to  pieces  to  make  a  sin  offering  of  the 
"wine"  of  his  blood.9  His  later  hero-incarnation  Orpheus,  star  of  the 
popular  Orphic  Mysteries,  was  the  same  sacrificial  god,  torn  to  pieces  by 
the  Maenads.  Proclus  said,  "Orpheus,  because  he  was  the  principal  in 
the  Dionysian  rites,  is  said  to  have  suffered  the  same  fate  as  the  god." 10 

Orpheus  was  a  third-generation  savior,  identified  with  his  divine 
[father  Dionysus  as  Dionysus  was  identified  with  his  divine  father 
Zeus.  Seated  on  the  Heavenly  Father's  throne,  brandishing  his  light- 
ning-scepter, Dionysus  was  hailed  as  King  of  Kings  and  God  of 
Gods.11  He  was  also  the  god-begotten,  virgin-born  Anointed  One 
UChristos)  whose  mother  seems  to  have  been  all  three  forms  of  the 
Triple  Goddess:  the  earth  mother,  Persephone  the  underworld  queen, 
Semele  the  moon-maiden.  Hints  of  a  hanging  or  crucifixion  ceremo- 
ny appeared  in  his  sacrificial  title  Dendrites,  "Young  Man  of  the 
[Tree."12  He  was  also  a  Horned  God,  with  such  forms  as  bull,  goat, 
and  stag. 

According  to  the  classic  story  of  his  dismemberment,  the  god  took 



Pausanias  Greek 
traveler  and 
geographer  of  the  2nd 
century  a.d.  Living  in 
a  time  of  declining 
culture,  he  was 
inspired  by  a  desire  to 
describe  the  ancient 
sacred  sites  for 

such  animal  forms  in  rapid  succession  to  avoid  the  onslaught  of  the 
Titans  (pre-Hellenic  earth-deities),  who  eventually  caught  him,  tore 
him  to  pieces,  and  devoured  him.  They  trapped  his  soul  in  a  mirror 
while  he  was  admiring  his  reflection,  which  equates  Dionysus  with  the 
spring-flower  god  Narcissus,  another  of  his  many  disguises.  Accord- 
ing to  Pausanias,  it  was  Onomakritos  who  made  the  Titans  into 
"authors  of  Dionysus's  sufferings,"  but  the  orgia  had  not  included 
this  detail  of  old.  Probably  one  of  the  god's  oldest  forms  was  Dionysus 
Melanaigis,  "Dionysus  of  the  Black  Goatskin,"  a  scapegoat-satyr  like 
Marsyas.13  His  traditional  costume  contributed  much  to  the  medieval 
Christian  notion  of  the  devil's  habit  of  appearing  in  the  form  of  a 
black  goat. 

At  Eleusis,  the  place  of  his  "Advent,"  Dionysus  appeared  as  a 
newborn  Holy  Child  laid  in  a  winnowing-basket,  liknon,  from  which 
he  was  called  Dionysus  Liknites.  This  sacred  object,  his  cradle,  was 
carried  in  his  processions  by  a  special  functionary  called  a  likno- 
phoros,  cradle-bearer.14  The  liknon  was  the  original  form  of  the 
"manger"  in  which  the  infant  Jesus  was  laid.  All  grain-gods,  whose 
flesh  was  eaten  in  the  form  of  bread,  appeared  as  newborn  babes  in  a 
vessel  intended  for  seed  corn. 

A  long-remembered  incarnation  of  the  god  was  King  Dionysus  of 

Syracuse,  who  altered  the  custom  of  king-sacrifice  in  the  4th  century 

B.C.  When  the  time  of  his  immolation  approached,  King  Dionysus 

substituted  for  himself  a  courtier  who  was  called  Damocles,  meaning 

either  "Conquering  Glory"  or  "Glory  of  Blood."  Damocles  was  said  to 

have  volunteered  to  take  the  king's  place  because  he  envied  the 

privileges  of  kingship.  He  enjoyed  these  privileges  for  a  short  while,  but 

soon  discovered  a  sword  suspended  above  his  head  by  a  single  hair: 

symbol  of  the  fate  of  kings,  in  a  time  when  they  and  the  gods  they 

embodied  were  periodically  fated  to  die.15  See  Kingship. 

1.  James,  198.  2.  Knight,  S.L.,  1 56.  3.  Graves,  W.G.,  366-68.  4.  Tacitus,  660. 
5.  Graves,  W.G,  368.  6.  Graves,  GM.  1, 105.  7.  Larousse,  160. 
8.  Graves,  GM.  2, 388.  9.  Knight,  S.L.,  156.  10.  Graves,  GM.  1, 114. 
ll.Frazer,GB.,451.  12.  Graves,  GM.  1,  107.  13.  Guthrie,  169,  320. 
14.  Guthrie,  161.  15.  Encyc.  Brit,  "Damocles." 


Greek  version  of  the  Heavenly  Twins,  gods  of  the  morning  and 
evening  star,  born  together  out  of  the  World  Egg  of  Leda.  Each  wore 
his  half  of  the  egg  shell  as  a  cap  or  crown.  The  twins  were  named 
Castor  and  Polydeuces,  the  latter  meaning  "abundant  wine,"  perhaps  a 
reference  to  the  flowing  blood  of  the  solar  Savior  whom  the  twins 
ushered  in  and  out  of  the  underworld  in  rites  linked  with  fertility.1  The 
name  of  Castor  has  been  associated  with  the  rite  of  castrating  the  god, 
in  classical  paganism  defined  as  "the  act  of  offering  the  phallus  to  the 
Love  Goddess."2 


The  Love  Goddess  was  called  Venus  in  Rome,  and  her  planet  is  Diotima 

the  same  one  that  appears  as  both  morning  and  evening  "star."  Djsjr 

Perhaps  this  was  why  Christians  associated  Pollux,  the  Roman  form  of  

Polydeuces,  with  "pollution."  Like  Shaher  and  Shalem  in  the  land  of 
Canaan,  the  Heavenly  Twins  announced  the  daily  birth  of  the  sun  with 
the  words  "He  is  risen,"  and  sent  him  into  the  underworld  at  his  daily 
death  with  the  word  "Peace"  (Shalom,  or  Salaam).  See  Lucifer. 

To  Mithraic  sun-worshippers  the  Dioscuri  were  symbolized  by 
two  golden  stars,  which  still  appear  in  the  heavens  as  the  Alpha  and 
Beta  stars  of  the  constellation  Gemini  (the  Twins).  When  the  Dioscuri 
were  shown  in  anthropomorphic  form  in  Mithraic  shrines,  they  held 
spears  or  torches,  one  upward,  the  other  downward,  signifying  the  rising 
and  setting  directions  of  the  sun.  Their  pose  was  standard:  one  twin 
had  the  right  leg  crossed  over  the  left,  the  other  had  the  left  leg  crossed 
over  the  right.3  The  same  "magic  4"  leg  position  is  seen  on  the 
Emperor  card  of  the  Tarot  trumps.  The  Dioscuri  were  revered  in 
Sparta  as  horsemen,  warriors,  and  war  dancers. 

1.  Graves,  CM.  1,  249;  2, 406.  2.  Jobes,  179.  3.  Cumont,  MM.,  128. 


Priestess  of  Mantinea,  famous  Pythagorean  philosopher,  teacher  of 
Socrates:  another  once-renowned  alma  mater  later  forgotten  by  patriar- 
chal historians.1 


Di  Parentes 

"Parental  deities,"  Roman  title  of  the  Manes  or  children  of  Mother 
Mana,  the  Moon-goddess;  ancestral  spirits  generally.1  At  the  founding 
of  every  Roman  town  a  hole  had  to  be  dug,  and  covered  with  the 
lapis  manalis,  as  a  gate  to  allow  the  Di  Parentes  to  pass  in  and  out  of  the 
underworld  so  they  would  accept  the  town's  location  as  their  home. 
They  were  honored  each  year  at  the  festival  of  Parentalia. 

1.  Larousse,  213. 


Norse  word  for  the  Primal  Matriarchs,  or  Divine  Grandmothers,  who 
ruled  the  clans  before  the  coming  of  patriarchal  gods.  The  Goddess 
Freya  was  the  Vanadis,  leader  of  the  disir.1  The  matriarchs  had  the 
true  magic,  which  the  gods  had  to  learn  from  them. 

l.Turville-Petre,  176. 


Dis  Pater  Dis  Pater 

^*  "Father  Dis,"  a  Roman  name  of  the  Lord  of  Death  inherited  from 

^^^^^^^^^^■i      Etruscan  times.  On  occasion  he  wore  the  wolf  head  of  the  Etruscan  god 
of  the  dead.  Like  underground  Pluto  he  was  called  "the  rich  one," 
because  he  knew  everything  about  mines,  deposits  of  gem  stones,  and 
buried  treasure.1  Gallic  Celts  worshipped  Dis  above  every  other  male 
deity,  claiming  he  was  the  "father"  of  their  race — in  the  old  way  of  the 
dying  god  who  became  "father"  by  shedding  his  blood  (see  King- 
ship). In  Britain,  Dis  was  regarded  as  a  universal  deity  very  like  Jehovah, 
whose  later  adherents,  however,  transformed  Dis  into  an  alternative 
name  for  the  devil.2 

1 .  Umusse,  211.  2.  Graves,  W.G.,  45. 


Arabic  "spirits,"  or  ancestral  souls.  Djinni  was  a  genie,  cognate  of  the 
Roman  genius,  paternal  ghost  or  begetter.  Mohammedans  viewed  the 
djinn  as  pagan  semi-demons  because  they  were  connected  with  the 
Old  Religion.  See  Genius. 


No  one  knows  when  man  first  domesticated  the  dog.  Evidence 
suggests  that  "man"  didn't  do  it  at  all;  woman  did  it.  In  myth,  dogs 
accompanied  only  the  Goddess,  guarding  the  gates  of  her  after-world, 
helping  her  to  receive  the  dead. 

Like  other  carrion  eaters — e.g.,  vultures — dogs,  wolves,  and  jack- 
als were  associated  with  funerary  customs.  Dogs  carried  the  dead  to 
their  Mother.  In  Iran,  even  after  it  became  usual  to  bury  the  dead,  it  was 
thought  necessary  to  let  dogs  tear  the  corpse  before  burial,  a  survival 
of  the  older  practice.1  The  Vendidad  said  the  soul  enroute  to  heaven 
would  meet  the  Goddess  with  her  dogs:  "Then  comes  the  beautiful, 
well-shapen,  strong  and  graceful  maid,  with  the  dogs  at  her  sides,  one 
who  can  discern,  who  has  many  children,  happy  and  of  high 
understanding.  She  makes  the  soul  of  the  righteous  go  up  above."2 

Semitic  tradition  transformed  the  Goddess  into  the  Angel  of 
Death,  whose  approach  can  be  seen  only  by  dogs — which  is  why 
dogs  howl  at  the  moon  to  announce  a  death.3  Devonshire  folklore  still 
says  there  is  a  dog  in  the  moon  who  acts  as  a  messenger  of  death.4 
The  Irish  say  two  dogs  guard  the  gate  of  death,  which  used  to  lead  to 
Emania,  the  Moon-land;  mourners  were  enjoined  not  to  wail  too 
loudly,  lest  they  disturb  the  dogs  and  cause  them  to  attack  the  soul  at  the 
gate.  This  and  many  other  similar  images  can  be  traced  to  the  ancient 
Vedic  concept  of  the  moon  as  death's  gate,  ruled  by  the  Goddess  and 
guarded  by  her  two  dogs.5 



This  Oriental  symbol  is  still  seen  in  an  almost  pure  form  on  Tarot 
trump  #18,  the  card  of  the  Moon.  The  conventional  picture  is  of  two 
dogs  howling  at  the  full  moon  in  front  of  a  gate,  or  two  pylons,  with  a 
road  leading  between  them  to  a  distant  horizon.  The  scene  was 
usually  interpreted  as  having  to  do  with  death.6  Sometimes  the  card  was 
called  Hecate,  after  the  classic  death-goddess  whose  totemic  compan- 
ions were  dogs.7  Her  gates  were  guarded  by  the  three-headed  hound 
Cerberus,  "Spirit  of  the  Pit."8  In  Celtic  myth  the  gatekeeper  was  a 
dog  named  Dormarth,  "Death's  Door."9  The  same  dog  might  be  seen 
on  the  famous  Gundestrup  Cauldron,  guarding  the  yonic  gate 
through  which  heroes  pass  on  their  way  to  death  and  transfiguration.10 

According  to  the  Vedic  tradition,  the  Bitch-goddess  Sarama  was 
the  mistress  of  the  death  dogs,  and  a  divine  huntress  like  Artemis, 
Diana,  Anath,  and  other  western  versions  of  the  lunar  maiden.11 
Ancient  Babylon  knew  her  as  Gula,  the  Fate-goddess,  whose  symbol 
was  a  dog.12  She  was  assimilated  to  Ishtar,  whose  sacred  king  Tammuz 
was  torn  to  pieces  by  "dogs."B  Under  his  Greek  names  of  Adonis  or 
Actaeon,  he  was  torn  to  pieces  by  the  Dogs  of  Artemis.  As  the  savior 
Orpheus,  he  was  incarnated  in  Neanthus  of  Lesbos  and  torn  to  pieces 
in  the  Orphic  temple  by  "dogs.  "H  When  Athene  assumed  the  guise  of 
the  death-goddess,  her  priestesses  filled  her  temple  with  canine 
"howlings"  (houloi),  like  wolves  or  dogs  singing  to  the  moon.15  Some- 
times a  whole  pack  of  dogs — or  priestesses? — hunted  souls  in  the 
realm  of  death,  like  the  Celtic  Hounds  of  Annwn,  which  Christians 
soon  converted  into  the  Hounds  of  Hell.16 

Originally  this  meant  the  hounds  of  the  Goddess  Hel,  ruler  of  the 
land  of  death.  Norse  myth  said  she  gave  birth  to  lunar  wolf-dogs  who 
ate  the  flesh  of  the  dead  and  carried  souls  to  paradise.  Their  leader  was 
Managarm,  "Moon-Dog."  The  Prose  Edda  says  Managarm  was 
"gorged  with  the  flesh  of  the  death-doomed;  and  with  red  blood  he 
reddens  the  dwelling  of  the  gods."17  In  other  words,  he  carried  the 
dead  away  in  primitive,  carrion-eating  canine  fashion. 

An  alternative  name  for  the  Norse  moon-dogs'  mother  was  Angur- 
boda,  the  Hag  of  the  Iron  Wood:  an  older  version  of  Hel,  sometimes 
called  Hel's  mother.18  Two  of  Angurboda's  canine  children,  Geri  and 
Freki,  lived  in  Valhalla  and  ate  the  food  offered  on  "Odin's  table," 
meaning  the  altar.19  This  suggests  that  the  Vedic  image  of  the  two  death 
dogs  passed  into  Norse  mythology  as  a  pair  of  canine  gods,  like  the 
many  holy  dogs,  wolves,  or  jackals  of  the  ancient  world  in  general. 

One  of  the  oldest  of  these  gods  was  Egyptian  Anubis,  brought 
from  central  Asia  at  a  very  early  date  under  the  name  of  Up-Uat, 
"Opener  of  the  Way."  He  was  also  known  as  Mates,  "He  of  the 
Mother,"  similar  to  the  archaic  Irish  word  for  a  dog,  madra.20  This 
old  Asian  god  was  said  to  be  a  wolf,  but  he  soon  merged  with  the  jackal 
Anubis,  who  was  called  his  twin.  The  composite  was  a  deity  "whose 
face  is  like  unto  that  of  a  greyhound  . . .  who  feedeth  on  the  dead  . . . 
who  devoureth  the  bodies  of  the  dead,  and  swalloweth  hearts."  In  the 


Prose  Edda 

Icelandic  saga,  a 
collection  of  traditional 
stories  compiled  by 
Snorri  Sturluson  in  the 
13  th  century  a.d. 


D°8  predynastic  period  he  governed  sacrificial  priests,  "jackal-headed  men 

with  slaughtering-knives,"  in  an  old  section  of  the  underworld.21 
■mhmm^^^^^m     Coptic  Christians  later  identified  Anubis  with  Cabriel,  who  was  called  a 
judge  of  the  dead.22 

As  a  lord  of  the  land  of  death,  Anubis  became  the  god  of 
mummification.  He  was  often  shown  bending  solicitously  over  the 
mummy  of  Osiris,  applying  the  preservative  mumiya  from  which  the 
word  "mummy"  descended.  When  the  Osiris  cult  became  astrologi- 
cal, much  of  its  imagery  was  transposed  from  the  underworld  to  the 
heavens,  including  the  image  of  Anubis. 

The  star  of  Anubis  was  Sothis  (Sirius),  the  Eye  of  the  Dog,  in 
Greek,  Canopis.  Sirius  is  the  star  forming  the  "eye"  of  Canis  Major,  the 
Great  Dog.  It  is  the  brightest  star  in  the  sky.  Egyptians  believed  it 
held  the  soul  of  Osiris,  whose  rebirth  coincided  with  the  rising  of  the 
Nile  flood,  when  his  star  rose  in  the  east.  "Three  wise  men"  pointed 
the  way  to  the  newborn  Savior:  the  three  stars  in  Orion's  belt,  which 
form  a  line  pointing  to  Sirius.  The  holy  city  of  Anubis  on  earth  was 
also  Canopis,  the  Eye  of  the  Dog,  origin  of  the  canopic  mummy-jar. 

Anubis  came  to  Rome  as  a  leading  character  in  the  Osirian 
Mysteries.  He  was  seen  in  processions  "condescending  to  walk  on 
human  feet . . .  rearing  terrifically  high  his  dog's  head  and  neck — that 
messenger  between  heaven  and  hell  displaying  alternately  a  face 
black  as  night,  and  golden  as  the  day;  in  his  left  the  caduceus,  in  his  right 
waving  aloft  the  green  palm  branch.  His  steps  were  closely  followed 
by  a  cow,  raised  into  an  upright  posture — the  cow  being  the  fruitful 
emblem  of  the  Universal  Parent,  the  goddess  herself,  which  one  of 
the  happy  train  carried  with  majestic  steps,  supported  on  his  shoulders. 
By  another  was  borne  the  coffin  containing  the  sacred  things,  and 
closely  concealing  the  deep  secrets  of  the  holy  religion."23 

Not  only  Anubis,  but  many  other  dog-deities  were  worshipped 
throughout  the  Roman  empire.  An  early  Roman  cista  from  Pales- 
trina-Praeneste  showed  the  Moon-virgin  Minerva  sacrificing  a  naked 
Mars  over  a  cauldron,  attended  by  her  three-headed  death  dog, 
clearly  the  same  as  Persephone's  or  Hecate's  Cerberus.24  The  dog  as 
the  keeper  of  Mother's  gate  was  known  everywhere  in  antiquity, 
probably  because  wild  dogs  were  first  domesticated  as  guardians  of  the 
home  threshold,  doorways  being  generally  sacred  to  women  who 
owned  the  houses.  In  Assyria,  images  of  dogs  were  buried  under 
thresholds  of  houses,  suggesting  similar  burials  of  deceased  watchdogs 
in  former  times.25  The  dogs'  spirits  continued  to  halt  intruders,  which 
may  account  for  the  ancient  custom  of  lifting  a  new  bride  over  a 
threshold,  so  the  guardian  spirits  beneath  would  not  think  her  an 
intruder  but  would  accept  her  as  a  resident. 

The  Cynic  sage  Diogenes  made  himself  a  watchdog  at  the  gate  of 
the  Great  Mother's  temple,  where  he  lived  in  "a  large  earthen  pot," 
representing  the  terrestrial  womb.26  Cynics  were  the  Goddess's  "doglike 
ones"  (kynikos).  Their  sect,  founded  in  the  4th  century  B.C.,  professed 


to  foretell  the  end  of  the  world  from  the  circumpolar  constellation  Ursa  Dog 

Minor,  which  they  called  the  Dog.  The  north  pole  star  was  the  Dog's 

Tail,  kunos  oura,  the  Cynosure.27  When  it  moved  from  its  place  at  the        

still  point  of  the  turning  world,  according  to  the  Cynics,  the  end  of 
the  present  universe  was  at  hand. 

The  Cynic  idea  of  the  dog  affixed  to  the  north  pole  is  still  found  in 
European  folklore.  Slavs  spoke  of  the  three  Zorya  (triple  Fate- 
goddess),  keeping  "a  dog  which  is  tied  by  an  iron  chain  to  the 
constellation  of  the  Little  Bear.  When  the  chain  breaks  it  will  be  the 
end  of  the  world."28  Egyptians  similarly  believed  the  Goddess  kept 
"powers  of  darkness"  fettered  by  a  heavenly  chain  until  the  last  days 
of  the  world.29  Northern  peoples  said  the  chain  held  the  cosmic 
doomsday-wolf  Fenrir,  who  would  be  released  by  the  Norns  (triple 
Fate-goddess)  to  devour  the  heavenly  father  at  the  end  of  the  world;  this 
would  signal  the  destruction  of  all  the  gods.30  Norsemen  therefore 
called  doomsday  the  Day  of  the  Wolf.31 

The  Great  Goddess  was  herself  a  wolf,  in  the  very  old  Roman  cult 
of  the  She- Wolf  Lupa,  whose  original  consort  was  Lupus,  the  Wolf. 
He  was  also  Feronius,  or  Dis  Pater,  a  subterranean  wolf  god  inherited 
from  the  Etruscans,  as  was  the  She- Wolf  who  suckled  Rome's 
founders,  Romulus  and  Remus.  The  famous  Lupercalian  statue  of  the 
She- Wolf  was  cast  in  bronze  during  the  5th  century  B.C.  The  two 
babies  under  her  belly  were  not  part  of  the  original  work  but  were  added 
centuries  later,  to  suit  the  Roman  version  of  the  legend.32 

The  Lupercalia  may  have  been  a  corruption  of  Lupa-Kali;  the 
Oriental  Great  Goddess  was  also  a  she-wolf.  Under  her  yoni-name  of 
Cunti  she  gave  birth  to  a  divine  son  "in  the  cave  of  the  wolf,"  like  the 
Lupercal  grotto.  Her  child  was  placed  in  a  basket  of  rushes  and  set 
afloat  on  the  Ganges,  as  Romulus  and  Remus  were  set  afloat  on  the 
Tiber,  Moses  was  set  afloat  on  the  Nile,  and  Sargon  was  set  afloat  on 
the  Euphrates.  The  wolf  bitch  Lupa  was  identified  with  the  midwife- 
goddess  Acca  Larentia  who  took  Romulus  and  Remus  from  their 
basket,  just  as  Akka  took  Sargon,  and  "pharaoh's  daughter"  (another 
version  of  Akka)  took  Moses.  Akka,  Acca,  or  Acco  was  the  same  as 
Hecate,  who  turned  into  a  wolf  bitch  in  Homeric  legend.33  Lupa  (or 
Acca)  disappeared  into  the  sacred  spring  of  the  Lupercal  grotto, 
where  her  spirit  was  worshipped  every  year  at  the  Lupercalian  festival. 

There  were  many  lupine  foster-mothers  in  Middle-Eastern  myths. 
Tu  Kueh,  legendary  founder  of  the  Turkish  nation,  was  preserved  in 
infancy  by  a  holy  she-wolf  whom  he  subsequently  married:  that  is,  she 
was  the  Goddess  of  the  land  in  totemic  form.34  A  famous  Turkish 
leader  was  Ataturk,  "the  Gray  Wolf."35  Zoroaster  was  raised  by  a  she- 
wolf.  Cyrus  the  Great,  born  of  Mandane  (Moon-mother),  was 
nursed  by  a  woman  whose  Greek  name  was  Cyno,  her  Median  name 
Spako,  meaning  "Bitch."  Siegfried  too  was  a  wolf's  foster  child;  his 
oldest  name  was  Wolfdietrich.36 

The  oldest  religion  of  the  Canary  Islands  was  a  dog-  or  wolf-cult, 


Dog  traces  of  which  are  still  seen  in  many  ancient  canine  statues.  Canary 

birds  and  canary  wine  took  their  name  from  the  islands,  which  were 

^^mmmmmm^^^^am      really  named  for  Canis,  the  dog.37 

The  same  name  once  applied  to  the  hereditary  caste  of  Jewish 
priests,  Kohen  or  Cohen,  from  Greek  kuon,  "dog."58  Because  dogs 
were  associated  with  the  old  matriarchy,  the  epithet  "dog"  became  an 
insult  to  Semitic  patriarchs;  Islam  forbids  both  women  and  dogs  to 
approach  a  shrine.59  Yet  Moslems  still  incongruously  believe  the  gall  of 
a  black  dog  can  serve  as  a  holy  amulet  to  purge  an  entire  household 
of  evil  influences.40 

Early  Christians  made  an  effort  to  assimilate  the  Gallo-Roman 
wolf  god  under  the  name  of  St.  Lupus  or  St.  Loup,  "Holy  Wolf."41 
He  was  made  a  legendary  bishop  of  Troyes,  credited  with  miraculously 
turning  back  the  invading  Huns  from  his  province;  but  this  story  was 
fiction  masquerading  as  history.42  The  church  was  not  wholly  comfort- 
able with  any  of  the  manifestations  of  Lupus,  who  was  really  a 
prototype  of  the  werewolf.  Saxons  used  to  worship  him  in  the  first 
month  of  the  sacred  year,  called  Wolf-monath  (Wolf  Month);  but 
Christian  authorities  changed  the  name  of  this  month  to  After- Yule,  or 
Jesu-monath.  Its  runic  sign  was  a  dot  in  a  circle,  the  same  as  the 
Festival  of  the  Circumcision  of  Christ  (New  Year's  Day).43 

Diana  the  Huntress  and  her  "dogs"  had  an  extensive  cult  in 
England.  Some  of  her  legends  merged  with  those  of  Arthur,  Lance- 
lot, and  other  British  heroes.  One  of  the  tales  told  how  Lancelot,  like 
Actaeon,  trespassed  in  the  Goddess's  greenwood  and  fell  asleep  at  her 
secret  spring: 

There  was  a  Lady  dwelt  in  that  forest,  and  she  was  a  great  huntress,  and 
daily  she  used  to  hunt,  and  ever  she  bare  her  bow  with  her;  and  no  man 
went  never  with  her,  but  always  women,  and  they  were  shooters,  and 
could  well  kill  a  deer,  both  at  the  stalk  and  at  the  trest;  and  they  daily 
bare  bows  and  arrows,  horns  and  wood  knives,  and  many  good  dogs  they 

When  the  "Lady"  caught  Lancelot  in  the  forbidden  place,  she 
didn't  set  her  dogs  on  him  as  her  forerunners  had  done.  She  only  shot 
him  in  the  buttock,  "that  he  might  not  sit  on  no  saddle."45  Thus  he 
was  disgraced,  since  a  warrior  was  supposed  to  show  wounds  only  in 

Because  dogs  were  natural  companions  of  the  housewife  as  well  as 
the  huntress,  they  were  often  cited  as  witches'  familiars.  A  black  dog 
seemed  even  more  suspect  than  a  black  cat.  The  dog  was  frequently 
believed  to  be  the  animal  form  of  a  demon  lover,  probably  because 
women  were  inclined  to  fondle  their  dogs;  many  women  were  hanged 
in  England  on  that  count  alone.  One  witch  was  officially  condemned 
for  having  "carnal  copulation  with  the  devil  in  the  likeness  of  a  man,  but 
he  removed  from  her  in  the  likeness  of  a  black  dog."46 

Gypsies  told  a  story  based  on  such  witch  trials:  there  was  a 
beautiful  maiden  whose  lover  was  her  dog.  Once  each  year  he 


transformed  himself  into  a  man  and  lay  with  her.  In  due  time,  she  gave  Dog 

birth  to  a  "little  white  puppy,"  then  she  jumped  into  the  river  and 

drowned  (a  popular  method  of  disposing  of  witches  was  to  drown  them        ^^^^_^^^__ 

in  the  so-called  swimming  ordeal).  The  demon  lover  assumed  his 

human  shape,  retrieved  the  maiden's  corpse,  and  brought  her  back  to 

life  by  placing  the  puppy-child  at  her  breast  to  suck.  Afterward,  as  in 

all  fairy  tales,  they  married  and  lived  happily  ever  after.47 

The  black  dog  was  the  witch's  helper  in  gathering  materials  for 
charms.  According  to  an  exceptionally  durable  superstition,  the 
miraculous  mandrake  root  could  not  be  pulled  out  of  the  ground  except 
by  a  black  dog.  This  curiously  formed  root,  called  "the  phallus  of  the 
field,"  or  "the  devil's  genitals,"  was  supposed  to  emit  a  scream  if 
uprooted  by  the  unwary;  and  all  who  heard  the  sound  would  go 
insane,  or  die.48 

The  Irish  remembered  the  dog's  connection  with  death  and 
maintained  that  true  curses  could  be  cast  with  a  dog's  help.  Among 
the  Celts,  cainte,  "dog,"  denoted  a  satiric  bard  with  magic  power  to 
speak  curses  that  would  come  true.49 

Dogs  or  wolves  played  their  ancient  role  of  psychopomps  in  a 
number  of  strange  stories  about  cathedral-building,  which  might  be 
traced  all  the  way  back  to  the  Etruscan  Lupus  or  Dis  Pater,  the  wolf- 
headed  Lord  of  Death  who  carried  sacrificial  victims  away.  In  the  very 
old  rite  of  the  mundus,  trenches  dug  for  temple  foundations  were 
filled  with  sacrificial  blood.  It  was  believed  the  building  would  be 
unstable  if  this  blood-magic  were  omitted;  so  it  was  done,  from  Hindu 
India  to  Latium  and  Britain.  Lupus  appeared  in  sacred  art  as  a  wolf- 
angel  carrying  the  victim  to  a  blessed  after-life.  On  an  Etruscan  vase, 
the  death-god  Charon  is  assimilated  to  Lupus  and  wears  a  wolfskin.50 

This  notion  that  sacred  buildings  needed  to  be  founded  in  blood 
has  been  evident  in  every  tradition  including  the  Judeo-Christian 
one.  The  Bible  says  when  Hiel  founded  the  city  of  Jericho,  "he  laid  the 
foundation  thereof  in  (the  blood  of)  Abiram  his  firstborn  and  set  up 
the  gates  thereof  in  his  youngest  son  Segub,  according  to  the  word  of 
the  Lord"  (1  Kings  16:34).  British  legend  said  Vortigern's  temple 
walls  kept  falling  down  because  the  blood  sacrifice  for  their  foundation 
had  been  forgotten.51  Such  pagan  customs  continued  in  the  Middle 
Ages.  Many  skeletons  have  been  found  buried  in  walls,  pillars,  and 
cornerstones  of  churches  and  abbeys,  placed  there  as  supportive 
sacrifices.52  A  deaf-mute  was  buried  under  the  cornerstone  of  a  monas- 
tery near  Gottingen.53  A  parish  church  at  Holsworthy,  North  Devon, 
was  found  in  1845  to  have  a  skeleton  in  its  southwest  wall.54  Illegitimate 
children  were  frequently  buried  in  building  foundations.  One  St. 
Benezet,  or  Little  Bennet,  was  walled  up  in  the  foundation  of  a  bridge 
at  Avignon  in  1 184.  Five  centuries  later  his  crypt  was  opened,  and 
St.  Benezet  proved  his  saintly  status  by  remaining  fresh  and  unde- 
cayed.55  So  his  ecclesiastical  press  agents  claimed,  at  any  rate.  "It  was 
really  a  common  thing  among  Christians  to  sacrifice  children,  maids,  or 



Chansons  de  gestes 

Old  French  epic 
poetry  of  the  11th  to 
1 3th  centuries. 

grown-up  people  by  burying  them  alive  under  the  foundations  of 
castles,  etc.,  to  insure  their  stability." 56 

When  St.  Columba  founded  a  monastery  on  the  island  of  Iona,  he 
called  for  a  volunteer  to  be  buried  alive  in  its  foundation.  A  monk 
named  Oran,  or  Odran,  earned  a  later  canonization  by  offering 
himself.57  For  some  reason — perhaps  a  promise  of  Christ-like  resurrec- 
tion— he  was  dug  up  again  after  three  days.  Still  alive,  he  began  to 
preach  blasphemous  doctrines:  there  was  no  God,  no  devil,  no  heaven 
or  hell.  St.  Columba  therefore  had  him  killed  and  re-buried.58  It  was 
not  uncommon  for  monks  infected  with  Gnostic,  agnostic,  or  atheistic 
beliefs  to  meet  with  such  a  fate. 

Europe's  totemic  dog  or  wolf  clans  seem  to  have  become  involved 
in  these  sacrificial  customs,  just  as  they  were  involved  in  the  ancient 
cult  of  the  mundus.  For  instance,  Cologne  Cathedral  was  said  to  have 
been  designed  by  the  devil,  and  its  bells  were  cast  under  the  devil's 
direction  at  the  foundry  of  a  mysterious  smith  named  Wolf.  After 
casting  a  certain  discordant  bell,  supposed  to  be  rung  only  in  time  of 
disaster,  Wolf  was  killed  by  a  fall  from  the  bell  tower.  The  architect  who 
collaborated  with  the  devil  was  also  killed,  crushed  by  a  great  stone 
that  already  had  his  name  engraved  on  it.59 

Chansons  de  gestes  told  a  somewhat  different  version.  The  build- 
ers of  Cologne  Cathedral  killed  a  hero  named  Renaud  (Fox)  and 
buried  him  in  the  foundation.  A  church  was  erected  to  Renaud's 
memory  in  81 1  a.d.;  a  chapel  stood  on  the  spot  in  Cologne  where  he 
was  slain.60  Some  said  Renaud  was  the  same  as  the  trickster-hero- 
demigod  Reynard  the  Fox;  others  said  he  was  a  great  warrior,  one  of 
Charlemagne's  paladins. 

The  devil  and  the  wolf  were  also  linked  with  Charlemagne's  tomb 
at  Aix-la-Chapelle.  The  devil  contributed  money  to  build  the  cathe- 
dral. In  return,  he  demanded  the  life  of  the  first  creature  to  enter  its 
doors.  At  the  dedication  ceremony,  people  thrust  a  wolf  into  the 
door.  The  devil  took  the  wolfs  life.  Then  it  was  safe  for  people  to  enter. 
Like  Cologne,  Aix-la-Chapelle  had  a  discordant  bell  for  emergencies. 
The  founder  of  this  bell  was  crushed  to  death  by  the  clapper,  so  the  bell 
was  baptized  with  his  blood. 

Similar  stories  were  told  of  Strasbourg  Cathedral,  supposedly 
designed  by  a  wise  witch  named  Sabine,  once  a  title  of  Lupa,  the 
Sabine  She- Wolf.  The  dedication  of  the  cathedral  was  marked  by  the 
sacrifice  of  twin  brothers,  like  Romulus  and  Remus,  one  of  whom 
killed  the  other  by  pushing  him  under  a  cornerstone  as  it  was  dropped 
into  place.  (Of  the  twins  nursed  by  the  Sabine  She- Wolf,  Romulus 
killed  Remus  while  digging  a  furrow  for  the  foundation  of  Rome's 
walls.)  The  bishop  of  Strasbourg  ordered  the  cornerstone  raised 
again,  and  the  second  brother  was  crushed  under  it  also,  by  his  wish.  He 
explained,  "My  body  will  serve  as  a  protection  to  the  cathedral."61 

Remnants  of  these  curious  beliefs  and  customs  survived  to  the 
present  time.  In  World  War  II,  the  Nazi  SS  caused  human  bodies  to 


be  "encased  in  the  concrete  fortifications  and  bunkers,  as  though  such  Dolcinists 

bodies  could  give  strength  to  inanimate  matter."62  To  this  day,  Greek 

peasants  insist  on  a  blood  sacrifice  at  the  building  of  any  bridge,  to  bathe      ^^^^^^^^^^^ 

the  foundation  in  the  lifeblood  of  a  bird  or  animal  to  "strengthen" 


The  notion  that  a  dog's  blood  is  equivalent  to  the  blood  of  a 
human  being  is  still  found  among  the  Berbers,  who  believe  that  a 
murderer  is  magically  tainted  by  the  blood  of  his  victim  for  the  rest  of  his 
life.  The  killer  of  a  dog  is  similarly  tainted.64  Nearly  everywhere  one 
can  still  find  the  belief  that  dogs  can  see  ghosts  and  other  spirits,  left  over 
from  the  formerly  universal  association  of  canines  with  the  world  of 
death  and  the  special  preserve  of  the  underground  Goddess.65 

1.  Herodotus,  56.  2.  Robertson,  115.  3.  Budge,  G.E.  1, 19. 

4.  Baring-Gould,  C.M.M.A.,  197.  5.  Lethaby,  193.  6.  Cavendish,  T,  128. 

7.  A.  Douglas,  106.  8.  Graves,  G.M.  2,  385.  9.  Squire,  257. 

10.  Cavendish,  V.H.H.  49.  1 1 . 0'Flaherty,  352.  12.  Lamusse,  63. 

13.  Assyr.  &  Bab.  Lit.,  338.  14.  Lamusse,  198.  15.  Herodotus,  270. 

16.  Graves,  W.G.,  36.  1 7.  Sturluson,  39.  18.  Graves,  W.G.,  409. 

19.  Sturluson,  63.  20.  Joyce  2, 453.  21.  Book  of  the  Dead,  182,  394, 140. 

22.  Graves,  W.G.,  153.  23.  Budge,  G.E.  2,  266.  24.  Dumezil,  243. 

25.  Budge,  A.T.,  99.  26.  Campbell,  Oc.M.,  244.  27.  Potter  &  Sargent,  174. 

28.  Lamusse,  285.  29.  Budge,  G.E.  2,  249.  30.  Sturluson,  88. 

31.  Campbell,  M.I.,  72.  32.  Lamusse,  220.  33.  Rank,  18, 45;  Graves,  G.M.  2,  342. 

34.  Gaster,  228.  35.  Wedeck,  173.  36.  Rank,  29, 56-58.  37.  Potter  &  Sargent,  173. 

38.  Knight,  S.L.,  114.  39.  Farb,  W.P.,  144.  40.  Budge,  A.T.,  12. 

41.  Knight,  D.VV.R,  191.  42.  Attwater,  223.  43.  Brewster,  50.  44.  Malory  2,  307. 

45.  Malory  2,  308.  46.  Robbins,  193, 463.  47.  Groome,  139.  48.  Simons,  67. 

49.  Joyce  1,  455.  50.  Castiglioni,  201;  Summers,  W,  69.  51.  Guerber,  L.M.A.,  205. 

52.  deLys,  380-81.  53.  Groome,  13.  54.  Elworthy,  80.  55.  Brewster,  194. 

56.Leland,241.  57.  Joyce  1,285.  58.  Holmes,  207.  59.  Guerber,  L.R.,  47-56. 

60.  Guerber,  L.M.A.,  162.  61.  Guerber,  L.R.,  85-88, 297-300.  62.  Becker,  E.E.,  104. 

63.  Lawson,  264.  64.  Frazer,  F.O.T.,  35.  65.  Halliday,  59. 


Medieval  heretics  formerly  called  the  Apostolic  Congregation, 
founded  by  a  peasant  named  Segarelli,  who  tried  to  join  the  Franciscan 
order  and  was  rejected.  Believing  himself  nevertheless  a  true  spiritual 
son  of  St.  Francis,  he  gathered  disciples  and  preached  against  the 
worldly  wealth  of  the  church.  He  was  caught  and  burned,  but  the 
Congregation  continued  under  Fra  Dolcino,  who  preached  the  oncom- 
ing doomsday,  the  fall  of  the  sinful  church,  and  the  triumph  of  the 
poor  and  simple  over  the  theocracy. 

Dolcinists  admitted  women  to  their  ranks,  and  granted  their 
"sisters  in  Christ"  the  same  right  to  preach  and  lead  prayers  as  the 
men,  one  of  the  worst  manifestations  of  their  heresy.  Dolcinists  claimed 
to  renounce  sexual  relations;  so  when  Dolcino's  particular  "dearly 
beloved  sister  in  Christ"  Margherita  di  Trank  bore  him  a  child,  it  was 
brought  about  through  the  miraculous  agency  of  the  Holy  Ghost, 
they  said. 

The  Inquisition  harassed  the  Dolcinists  until  they  took  refuge  in 
the  high  mountains.  Three  crusades  were  preached  against  them.  In 
the  winter  of  1 307  they  were  finally  reduced  to  starvation,  trapped,  and 



slaughtered.  Dolcino  was  captured  alive,  unfortunately  for  him.  After 
watching  his  Margherita  burn,  he  was  torn  to  pieces  by  red-hot  pincers 
on  a  cart  rolling  slowly  along  the  roads  for  all  to  watch. 

Despite  this  edifying  example,  Dolcinism  persisted  for  another 
century.  Two  Dolcinist  Apostles  were  captured  and  burned  in 
Germany  in  1404.1 

1.  Lea  unabridged,  614-23. 

Puranas  are  ancient 
Sanskrit  scriptures  in 
verse,  treating  of  cos- 
mologies, sacred 
histories,  and  the  nature 
of  the  divine. 


The  universal  idea  of  the  world's  end  was  rooted  in  ancient  Hindu 
belief  in  the  cyclic  alternation  of  universes,  brought  about  by  Kali. 

Each  successive  creation  was  divided  into  four  yugas  or  ages: 
Satya,  Treta,  Dvapara,  and  Kali,  the  fourth  and  last  marking  the  age 
when  Mother  turns  Destroyer  because  the  race  of  men  become  violent 
and  sinful,  failing  to  perceive  deity  in  the  feminine  principle.  "Due  to 
the  limited  intelligence  and  lust  of  men  in  the  Kali  Yuga,  they  will  be 
unable  to  recognize  women  as  manifestations  of  the  Shakti."  Only  a 
few  may  escape  spiritual  degeneration:  those  who  are  devoted  "to  the 
lotus  of  their  mothers'  feet  and  to  their  own  wives." l 

When  Kali's  doomsday  arrived,  the  gods  would  slay  each  other. 
Earth  would  be  overwhelmed  by  fire  and  flood.  The  Goddess  would 
swallow  up  everything  and  un-make  it,  returning  to  her  primordial  state 
of  formless  Chaos,  as  she  was  before  creation.  All  beings  would  enter 
her,  because  "She  devours  all  existence."2  After  a  time  that  could  not 
be  counted  because  even  Time  was  destroyed,  Kali  would  give  birth 
to  a  new  universe. 

The  Matsya  Purana  said  signs  of  approaching  doomsday  were  to 
be  found  in  the  breakdown  of  social  structures,  the  increase  in 
violence  and  crime,  and  the  decline  of  human  intelligence: 

There  is  no  one,  any  more,  in  whom  enlightening  goodness  (sattva) 
prevails;  no  real  wise  man,  no  saint,  no  one  uttering  truth  and  standing 
by  his  sacred  word.  The  seemingly  holy  Brahmin  is  no  better  than  a  fool. 
Old  people,  destitute  of  the  true  wisdom  of  old  age,  try  to  behave  like 
the  young,  and  the  young  lack  the  candor  of  youth.  The  social  classes 
have  lost  their  distinguishing,  dignifying  virtues. . . .  The  will  to  rise  to 
supreme  heights  has  failed;  the  bonds  of  sympathy  and  love  have  dis- 
solved; narrow  egotism  rules. . . .  When  this  calamity  has  befallen  the 
once  harmoniously  ordered  City  of  Man,  the  substance  of  the  world- 
organism  had  deteriorated  beyond  salvage,  and  the  universe  is  ripe  for 
dissolution. } 

The  Vishnu  Purana  said  the  world  in  its  last  days  reaches  a  stage 
where  "property  confers  rank,  wealth  becomes  the  only  source  of  virtue, 
passion  the  sole  bond  of  union  between  husband  and  wife,  falsehood 


the  source  of  success  in  life,  sex  the  only  means  of  enjoyment,  and  Doomsday 

when  outer  trappings  are  confused  with  inner  religion."4 

Asiatic  arts  of  astronomic  observation  and  calculation  of  calendars      ■^■^™-B^^^™ 
were  motivated  by  an  earnest  desire  to  know  the  exact  length  of  each 
yuga,  to  foresee  the  end.  An  age  was  supposed  to  begin  when  sun, 
moon,  and  planets  stood  in  conjunction  at  the  initial  point  of  the 
ecliptic  and  to  end  when  they  returned  to  the  same  point.  By  Hindu 
reckoning,  the  present  yuga  began  in  3 1 02  B.C.  The  chronology  of 
'the  Central  American  Maya  began  in  3 1 1 3  B.C.,  only  1 1  years  later,  "a 
discrepancy  probably  due  to  some  minor  miscalculation  in  reckoning 
backward  from  the  observed  movements  of  the  heavenly  bodies." 5 

Ancient  Mesopotamia  set  the  same  dates  as  India  and  Mexico — 
between  3113  and  3 1 02  b.c. — for  the  beginning  of  civilized  arts, 
especially  astronomical  calculation.  The  Babylonian  sage  Berossus  said 
"the  world  will  burn  when  all  the  planets  that  now  move  in  different 
courses  come  together  in  the  Crab,  so  that  they  all  stand  in  a  straight 
ine  in  the  same  sign,  and  . . .  the  future  flood  will  take  place  when 
the  same  conjunction  occurs  in  Capricorn.  For  the  former  is  the 
constellation  of  the  summer  solstice,  the  latter  of  the  winter  solstice; 
they  are  the  decisive  signs  of  the  zodiac,  because  the  turning  points  of 
the  year  lie  in  them."  Jeremias  commented: 

This  Babylonian  doctrine  has  spread  over  the  whole  world.  We  find  it 
again  in  Egypt,  in  the  religion  of  the  Avesta,  and  in  India;  traces  of  it 
are  discovered  in  China,  as  well  as  in  Mexico  and  among  the  savage 
nations  of  South  America.  To  refer  these  phenomena  back  to  "elemen- 
tary ideas"  such  as  may  arise  independently  among  different  peoples,  will 
not  hold  good  in  view  of  the  circumstance  that  we  have  to  do  with  ideas 
connected  with  definite  facts  which  rest  upon  continued  astronomical 
observations. 6 

These  remarks  shed  light  on  the  great  Neolithic  monuments 
piown  to  be  astronomical  calculators,  suggesting  a  good  reason  why 
hey  were  built  with  so  much  care  and  effort.  The  Stoic  philosophers 
)f  doomsday  drew  upon  a  very  ancient  tradition  in  predicting  the 
vorld's  end  in  terms  almost  identical  with  those  of  Oriental  sages:  "A 
lew  sea  will  overrun  everything,  and  the  Ocean,  today  the  boundary 
.nd  girdle  of  the  world,  will  occupy  its  centre. . . .  What  nature  has 
nade  into  separate  parts  will  be  confounded  into  a  single  mass."  This 
reed  of  dissolution  into  Chaos  became  "an  important  part  of 

Northern  Europeans  drew  their  myths  of  doomsday  or  Ragnarok 
rom  the  same  ancient  tradition.  They  said  the  world's  end  would  be 
rought  about  by  the  Mutspell  (Mother's  Curse)  when  violent  gods 
eglected  the  old  laws  of  peace  and  blood  kinship.  The  angry 
Joddess  would  become  Skadi  the  Destroyer,  a  great  shadow  devouring 
le  world,  like  her  Oriental  counterpart  Kali.  The  gods  would  enter 


Doomsday  that  shadow  of  Gotterdammerung,  literally  the  Going-Into-the-Shadow- 

of-the-Gods.  They  would  be  consumed,  and  the  heavens  and  earth 
^^^^^aa^      with  them.  The  world  would  sink  back  into  the  womb  of  primal  chaos 
which  gave  it  birth  in  the  beginning.8 

This  was  the  prophecy  of  the  sybilline  priestess  who  wrote  the 
Voluspa.  It  was  echoed  by  the  Irish  sybil  Babd,  one  of  the  three  Fate- 
goddesses.  She  foretold  the  coming  of  the  Waste  Land,  "trees  without 
fruit  and  seas  without  fish;  old  men  would  give  false  judgments  and 
legislators  make  unjust  laws;  warriors  would  betray  one  another,  and 
men  would  be  thieves,  and  there  would  be  no  more  virtue  left  in  the 

After  destruction  of  this  nonvirtuous  world  and  its  cruel  gods,  there 
would  be  a  period  of  dark  nonexistence.  Then  the  Goddess's  womb 
would  bring  forth  a  new  universe.  A  new  human  race  would  arise  from 
a  primal  couple,  a  woman  named  Life — one  of  the  Semitic  names  of 
Eve — and  a  man  named  Desirer-of-Life.10 

Patriarchal  Persians  made  some  alterations  in  the  picture.  Their 
idea  of  doomsday  was  as  dire  as  any,  with  the  usual  convulsions  of  the 
earth,  fires,  flood,  and  fallings  of  heaven;  but  they  denied  the  subse- 
quent creation  of  a  new  world.  Their  concept  was  not  cyclic,  but 
linear.  Creation  and  doomsday  could  occur  only  once.  After  the  great 
battle  Armageddon  at  the  end  of  the  world,  "The  War  of  the  Sons  of 
Light  with  the  Sons  of  Darkness,"  the  heavenly  forces  of  the  sun  god 
would  prevail.11  They  would  divide  the  sinful  from  the  virtuous  and 
assign  them  to  heaven  or  hell.  The  aftermath  was  not  another  creation,  j 
but  eternal  stasis,  like  the  Brahman  Nirvana. 

Passing  through  Jewish-Essenic  and  Roman-Mithraic  sects  into 
Christianity,  this  Persian  doomsday  became  the  familiar  one  in  the  west 
with  numerous  details  borrowed  from  the  older  Aryan  paganism.  The 
last  Trump  played  on  Gabriel's  horn  was  originally  played  on  Rig- 
Heimdall's  "ringing  horn"  (Gjallarhorn).12  The  Great  Serpent  slain 
by  Thor  in  the  final  battle  became  identified  with  Satan.13  Like 
paganism's  sacred  dramas,  the  final  drama  of  the  earth's  dissolution 
was  divided  into  five  acts.14  Christians  even  translated  the  Norse 
"Mother's  Curse"  as  "Judgment  Day"  when  they  found  it  variously 
rendered  Mutspell,  Muspell,  Muspelle,  Mudspeller,  or  Muspilli.15 

The  Savior  destined  to  appear  before  the  world's  end  had  an  old    I 
form  in  Buddhist  scriptures  as  Kalki  Avatara,  the  Destroyer  of  Sin, 
who  would  come  from  heaven  to  announce  doomsday.16  Persians 
copied  him,  changing  his  title  to  Son  of  Man,  or  Messiah.  Before  1 70 
B.C.,  the  Book  of  Enoch  called  him  Christos,  the  Anointed  One,  and 
announced  that  he  had  already  come  and  gone,  and  that  his  Second 
Coming  was  expected  at  any  moment.17 

According  to  the  Gospels,  Jesus  identified  himself  with  this  person 
age  who  would  be  seen  "coming  in  the  clouds  with  great  power  and 


glory.  And  then  shall  he  send  his  angels,  and  shall  gather  together  his  Doomsday 

elect  from  the  four  winds,  from  the  uttermost  part  of  the  earth  to  the 

uttermost  part  of  heaven"  (Mark  13:26-27).  Jesus  was  not  the  only  ^^^^^^^^^^ 

Messiah  of  his  time.  Josephus  said  before  70  a.d.  there  were  countless 

Messiahs  and  Christs  announcing  the  end  of  the  world.18 

The  Gospels  promised  doomsday  almost  at  once.  Jesus  said  it 
would  occur  in  his  own  generation:  "There  be  some  standing  here, 
which  shall  not  taste  of  death,  till  they  see  the  kingdom  of  God"  (Luke 
9:27).  Early  Christians  accordingly  expected  the  world's  end  so  soon 
that  there  was  no  reason  to  marry  and  beget  children  who  would  never 
grow  up,  a  major  reason  for  Christianity's  renunciation  of  marriage. 
Motherhood  would  only  harm  women  in  the  convulsions  of  the  last 
days:  "Woe  unto  them  that  are  with  child,  and  to  them  that  give 
suck,  in  those  days!"  (Luke  21:23). 

Hopeful  Christians  found  that  Jesus's  generation  and  many  other 
generations  passed  without  apocalyptic  symptoms.  Seeking  an  expla- 
nation, theologians  discovered  the  text  saying  a  thousand  years  were  but 
a  day  in  the  sight  of  God  (Psalms  90:4),  another  borrowing  from 
Oriental  sages  who  said  a  Day  of  Brahma  lasted  a  thousand  years.  On 
the  basis  of  this  scripture  it  was  decided  that  the  world  would  end  in 
the  year  1000  a.d.  With  the  approach  of  that  year,  Europe  was  seized 
by  an  apocalyptic  mania.  Farms  and  towns  were  abandoned  as 
fanatics  tramped  the  countryside  announcing  the  Last  Days.  In  some 
areas,  agriculture  and  commerce  came  virtually  to  a  standstill.  The 
year  passed  uneventfully  enough,  but  human  society  suffered  greatly 
from  famines  and  civil  disorders  caused  by  the  doomsday  belief.19 

Some  Franciscans  declared  that  Christ  really  had  returned  to  earth 
in  1000  a.d.,  disguised  as  St.  Francis,  the  new  Messiah,  who  was 
"entirely  transformed  into  the  person  of  Christ."  Francis  was  said  to 
have  performed  all  the  Christ-like  miracles,  cast  out  devils,  turned 
water  into  wine,  cured  the  sick,  raised  the  dead,  made  the  blind  see,  and 
so  on.20  There  were  those  who  went  so  far  as  to  claim  that  Christ  was 
important  only  as  a  precursor  of  St.  Francis.21 

Not  only  the  Christ  figure  was  supposed  to  return  just  before 
doomsday,  but  also  Antichrist,  his  adversary,  for  the  final  battle 
between  good  and  evil  couldn't  take  place  until  all  the  forces  were 
assembled  on  either  side.  According  to  a  German  legend,  Antichrist 
could  not  come  to  earth  as  long  as  the  Holy  Roman  (German)  Empire 
stood.22  This  legend  served  to  keep  some  of  the  warring  nationlets  in 
line  at  times,  but  the  Holy  Roman  Empire  was  a  rather  loose,  indefin- 
able entity  for  most  of  its  existence.  Antichrist  was  almost  as 
constantly  anticipated  as  Christ. 

Another  who  taught  that  the  Last  Judgment  had  already  taken 
place  was  Swedenborg;  he  gave  its  date  as  1757,  the  date  of  the 
establishment  of  his  own  Church  of  the  New  Jerusalem.  He  wisely 


Doppelganger  refrained  from  predicting  the  world's  end  a  short  time  in  advance,  but 

Dove  others  fell  into  this  trap,  dimming,  in  England,  predicted  the  end  of  the 

^ wm      world  in  1867,  with  resulting  injury  to  his  credibility  when  the  end 
failed  to  come. 

A  prominent  doomsday  prophet  was  William  Miller,  inadvertent 
founder  of  the  sects  of  Jehovah's  Witnesses  and  Seventh-Day  Ad- 
ventists.  He  fixed  the  date  of  the  millenium  on  March  21, 1843.  His 
followers  were  afire  with  enthusiasm,  but  still  failed  to  see  Christ 
descending  from  the  clouds  as  expected.  Miller  decided  he  had  miscal- 
culated, and  fixed  a  new  date  on  October  21  of  the  same  year.  "On 
the  appointed  day  of  doom  frenzied  believers  donned  their  robes, 
tucked  an  ultimate  lunch  in  the  folds,  and  took  their  places  on  the 
housetops,  facing  east.  On  the  22nd  they  ate  their  lunch  and  climbed 
down.  Miller  confessed  his  disappointment,  but  insisted  'the  day  of 
the  Lord  is  at  the  door.'  "23  The  Millerites  never  gave  up  hope.  Their 
offshoot  sects  still  exist  and  flourish,  though  naive  displays  of  credulity 
are  usually  avoided. 

1.  Mahanirvanatantra,  12,  53,  56, 177.  2.  Mahanirvanatantra,  295-96. 

3.  Ross,  66;  Zimmer,  35-36.  4.  Zimmer,  15.  5.  Campbell,  M.I.,  148-49. 

6.  Campbell,  Ml.,  149.  7.  Lindsay,  O.A.,  107-8.  8.  Larousse,  275. 

9.  Squire,  1 18.  10.  Branston,  289-90.  11.  Black,  3.  12.  Turville-Petre,  154. 

13.  Branston,  281 .  14.  Male,  367.  15.  Turville-Petre,  284. 

16.  Mahanirvanatantra,  xlviii.  17 '.  Reinach,  217.  18.  Brandon,  248. 

19.  Summers,  V,  150.  20.  de  Voragine,  608-10.  21.  Reinach,  307. 

22.  Borchardt,  69.  23.  de  Lys,435. 


German  word  for  one's  "double,"  corresponding  to  the  Egyptian  ka, 
or  a  reflection-soul.  Sometimes  the  afterbirth  was  said  to  be  an  un- 
formed twin  of  the  newborn  baby;  by  magic  it  might  assume  the 
living  twin's  shape  and  follow  him  through  life.  Sometimes  this  was 
thought  to  be  the  Doppelganger  seen  in  one's  reflection. 


Aphrodite's  totem,  the  bird  of  sexual  passion,  symbolically  equivalent 
to  the  yoni.1  In  India,  too,  the  dove  was  paravata,  the  symbol  of  lust.2 
Joined  to  her  consort  the  phallic  serpent,  the  Dove-goddess  stood  for 
sexual  union  and  "Life." 

The  phrase  attributed  to  Jesus,  "Be  ye  therefore  wise  as  serpents, 
and  harmless  as  doves"  (Matthew  10:16),  was  no  random  metaphor 
but  a  traditional  invocation  of  the  Syrian  God  and  Goddess.3  The 
Oriental  meaning  was  remembered  by  the  gypsies,  whose  folk  tales 
said  the  souls  of  ancestors  lived  inside  magic  hollow  mountains,  the  men 
having  been  changed  into  serpents  and  the  women  into  doves.4 


Christians  adopted  the  feminine  dove  as  a  symbol  of  the  Holy  Dove 

Ghost,  originally  the  Goddess  Sophia,  representing  God's  "Wisdom" 

as  the  Goddess  Metis  represented  the  "Wisdom"  of  Zeus.  Gnostic  ^^^^^^^^^^^ 

Christians  said  Sophia  was  incarnate  in  the  dove  that  impregnated  the 
virgin  Mary,  the  same  dove  that  descended  on  Jesus  at  his  baptism  to 
impregnate  his  mind  (Matthew  3:16).  Pious  admirers  of  Pope  Greg- 
ory the  Great  made  him  even  more  saintly  than  Jesus  by  reporting  that 
the  Holy  Ghost  in  dove  shape  descended  on  him  not  once  but  many 
times.5  All  this  was  copied  from  Roman  iconography  which  showed  the 
human  soul  as  a  dove  that  descended  from  the  Dove-goddess's 
oversoul  to  animate  the  body.6 

Aphrodite  as  a  bringer  of  death,  or  "peace,"  sometimes  bore  the 
name  of  Irene,  Dove  of  Peace.  Another  of  her  death-goddess  names 
was  Epitymbria,  "She  of  the  Tombs."7  Romans  called  her  Venus 
Columba,  Venus-the-Dove.  Her  catacombs,  mausoleums,  and  ne- 
cropoli  were  known  as  columbaria,  "dovecotes."8  Thus  the  soul 
returning  to  the  Goddess  after  death  was  again  envisioned  as  a  dove. 
From  this  image,  Christians  copied  their  belief  that  the  souls  of  saints 
became  white  doves  that  flew  out  of  their  mouths  at  the  moment  of 
death.  In  the  Catholic  ceremony  of  canonization,  white  doves  are 
released  from  cages  at  the  crucial  moment  of  the  ritual.9 

Christian  iconography  showed  seven  rays  emanating  from  the 
dove  of  the  Holy  Ghost:  an  image  that  went  back  to  some  of  the  most 
primitive  manifestations  of  the  Goddess.10  In  the  Orient,  the  mystic 
seven  were  the  Pleiades  or  "Seven  Sisters,"  whose  Greek  name 
meant  "a  flock  of  doves."  They  were  daughters  or  "rays"  of  Aphrodite 
under  her  title  of  Pleione,  Queen  of  the  Sea.11  Herodotus  said  seven 
holy  women  known  as  Doves  founded  the  oracles  of  Dodona,  Epirus, 
and  Theban  Amon.12  They  were  worshipped  in  the  Middle  East  as 
Seven  Sages  or  Seven  Pillars  of  Wisdom:  the  seven  woman-shaped 
pillars  that  had  been  upholding  temples  of  the  Goddess  since  the 
third  millenium  B.C.13  See  Caryatid.  Arabs  still  revere  the  Seven  Sages, 
and  some  remember  that  they  were  women,  or  "doves."  H  The 
Semitic  word  for  "dove,"  ione,  was  a  cognate  of  "yoni"  and  related  to 
the  Goddess  Uni,  who  later  became  Iune,  or  Juno. 

The  cult  of  the  Doves  used  to  incorporate  primitive  rites  of 
castration  and  its  modification,  circumcision.  India  called  the  seven 
Sisters  "razors"  or  "cutters"  who  judged  and  "critically"  wounded  men, 
the  Krittikas,  "Seven  Mothers  of  the  World,"  root  of  the  Greek 
kritikos,  "judge."  They  killed  and  gave  rebirth  to  gods  who  were 
castrated  to  make  them  fertile,  like  women.  The  name  of  Queen 
Semiramis,  legendary  founder  of  Babylon,  also  meant  "Dove"  in  the 
Syrian  tongue.  She  was  said  to  have  castrated  all  her  consorts.15 

When  circumcision  replaced  castration,  the  doves  were  involved  in 
that  too.  Even  Christian  symbolism  made  the  connection.  The 


Drama  official  symbol  of  the  Festival  of  the  Circumcision  of  Christ  was  a  dove, 

holding  in  its  beak  a  ring  representing  the  Holy  Prepuce.  "Christ's 

^HMMHHHi^^^^M     fructifying  blood"  was  linked  with  the  similar  emblem  of  Pentecost, 

which  showed  the  descending  dove  on  a  background  of  blood  red, 

officially  described  as  a  representation  of  the  church  fertilized  by  the 

blood  of  Christ  and  the  martyrs.16 

A  certain  "maiden  martyr"  called  St.  Columba  (Holy  Dove)  was 

widely  revered,  especially  in  France,  although  she  never  existed  as  a 

human  being.17  Another  curious  survival  of  pagan  dove-lore  was  the 

surname  given  to  St.  Peter:  Bar-Iona,  "Son  of  the  Dove." 18  Some 

survivals  may  have  been  invented  to  explain  the  doves  appearing  on 

ancient  coins  as  symbols  of  Aphrodite  and  Astarte.19 

1.  Graves,  W.G.,  123.  2.  Waddell,  108.  3.  Cumont,  O.R.R.P.,  118.  4.  Trigg,  196. 
5.  de  Voragine,  188.  6.  Strong,  136.  7.  Graves,  G.M.  1,  72.  8.  Bachofen,  21. 
9.  Gaster,  769.  10.  de  Lys,  13.  1 1.  Graves,  G.M.  2,  405;  W.G.,  194. 
12.  Knight,  S.L.,  48.  13.  Gaster,  804.  14.  Briffault  1,  377.  15.Rank,93. 
16.  Brewster,  50,246-47.  1 7.  Attwater,  92.  18.  de  Voragine,  330. 
l9.d'Alviella,  91-92. 


All  drama  began  as  sacred  or  magical  drama,  seasonally  performed, 
having  the  same  universal  theme:  the  challenge,  trial,  marriage,  sacri- 
fice, and  resurrection  of  the  hero,  or  sacred  king,  or  savior.  The 
audience  participated  with  songs,  dances,  sexual  orgies,  laments,  eating 
the  god  and  rejoicing  at  his  restoration.  One  object  was  attainment  of 
religious  ecstasy:  entering  into  the  "dream." 

It  has  been  shown  that  every  dream  bears  "a  remarkable  resem- 
blance to  drama."1  Old  Norse  draumar,  related  to  German  Traum 
(dream),  featured  a  sacrificial  slaying  of  the  god,  the  "tragic"  part  of  the 

Tragedy  descended  from  the  "goat-song"  enacting  the  sacred 
dramas  of  Dionysus  or  Pan.  The  five-act  structure  of  classical  tragic 
drama — still  seen  in  the  plays  of  Shakespeare — was  established  by  the 
five-act  rites  of  the  god.  The  acts  were:  (1)  agon,  the  Contest:  the 
incumbent  incarnation  of  the  god  fought  his  challenger;  (2)  pathos,  the 
Passion:  the  god  united  with  the  goddess  and  sent  forth  his  soul  with 
his  semen  (or  blood)  to  fertilize  the  world  anew — he  died  in  his  own 
begetting;  (3)  threnos,  the  Lament:  a  "threnody"  of  wailings  and 
gestures  of  grief,  partly  to  absolve  the  audience  of  responsibility  for  the 
god's  death;  (4)  anagnorisis,  the  Discovery:  priestesses  returned  to  the 
tomb  to  find  that  the  god  was  "risen,"  in  much  the  same  ritual  enacted 
by  Mary  Magdalene  and  other  temple-women  at  the  tomb  of  Jesus 
(Luke  24:10)  where,  significantly,  no  men  were  present;  (5)  apotheosis, 
the  Deification:  the  resurrected  victim  became  God,  and  rose  to 
heaven,  to  be  a  part  of  his  divine  father.3  On  this  occasion  the 


worshippers  threw  themselves  into  an  orgy  of  rejoicing,  such  as  Droit  du  Seigneur 
distinguished  the  Roman  carnival  called  Hilaria,  "Day  of  Joy,"  follow- 
ing the  death  and  resurrection  of  the  savior  Attis.4                                        

Dionysus,  Pan,  Attis,  Osiris,  Orpheus,  and  many  other  gods  of  the 
mystery-cults  contributed  their  dramas  to  medieval  mystery  plays, 
their  linear  descendants.  The  mummers'  play,  the  ceremonies  of 
Carnival,  May  Day,  Harvest  Home  and  other  festivals  used  parts  of 
the  old  sacred  drama.  Characters  of  the  classic  commedia  were  modeled 
on  some  of  the  pagan  deities.  The  Dove-goddess  became  Columbine 
(Dove).  The  Serpent-god  became  Pierrot  (Big  Peter,  or  the  Pied  One). 
The  name  of  Harlequin  came  from  the  Hellequins,  or  Hella  cunni, 
"kindred  of  the  Goddess  Hel,"  souls  of  the  pagan  dead  riding  forth  from 
her  underworld.5 

Masks  were  customary  in  the  early  medieval  drama,  just  as  they 
were  in  the  plays  of  ancient  Greece  and  Rome.  From  a  magical  point 
of  view,  the  essence  of  the  character  lay  in  the  mask,  not  in  the  actor 
who  wore  it.  This  was  the  primitive  theory  behind  all  appearances  of 
mask  and  costume  in  religious  ceremonies,  from  the  animal-headed 
"gods"  of  Egypt — human  bodies  wearing  the  deities'  disguises — to 
modern  priestly  vestments.  Savages  still  say  that,  by  putting  on  the  mask 
and  costume  of  an  animal,  spirit,  or  deity  (or  all  at  once),  they  do  not 
simply  make  believe  but  actually  become  that  creature.6  See  Mask. 

l.Sagan,  178.  2.  Turville-Petre,  109.  3.  J.E.  Harrison,  344.  4.  Frazer,  G.B.,  407. 
5.  Potter  &  Sargent,  73;  J.B.  Russell,  146.  6.  Jung,  M.H.S.,  44. 

Jroit  du  Seigneur 

The  Lord's  Right,"  also  called  jusprimae  noctis,  "the  law  of  the  first 
light."  An  outgrowth  of  the  feudal  system  that  equated  ownership  of 
and  with  ownership  of  women.  The  droit  du  seigneur  meant  that 
ivery  serf's  bride  must  be  deflowered  on  her  wedding  night  not  by  her 
>ridegroom  but  by  the  lord  of  the  land. 

As  laid  down  by  Ewen  III  of  Scotland  in  the  9th  century,  the  law 
aid  wives  of  common  folk  could  be  raped  by  any  nobleman  at  any 
ime;  and  "the  lord  of  the  ground  shall  have  the  maidenhead  of  all 
irgins  dwelling  on  the  same." ' 

The  church  upheld  the  droit  du  seigneur  as  a  God-given  right  of 
le  nobility.  For  a  vassal  bridegroom  to  consummate  his  marriage 
/ithin  three  nights  after  the  wedding  was  declared  blasphemous  "to  the 

benediction"  and  tantamount  to  "carnal  lust."2  The  overlord's 

however,  was  right  and  proper.  The  eastern  church  provided  legal 

lties  for  a  man  who  tried  to  consummate  his  marriage  before  his 

er  could  rape  the  bride.* 

Droit  du  seigneur  was  a  general  rule  throughout  the  feudal  period 

continued  in  Russia  up  to  the  19th  century.4 



The  system  also  continued  in  America's  slaveholding  south  before 
the  civil  war,  unofficially  but  generally  acknowledged.  Every  black 
woman  was  the  sexual  property  of  her  master,  whether  she  was  married 
to  another  slave  or  not.5  Slave  marriages  could  be  legally  ignored  if 
plantation  owners  cared  to  do  so.  In  1757,  Peter  Fontaine  said  planta- 
tion owners  begot  so  many  children  on  their  female  slaves  that  "the 
country  swarms  with  mulatto  bastards."  Thomas  Anburey  praised  the 
system,  calling  it  "a  pleasant  method  to  procure  slaves  at  a  cheap 

l.Bullough(168.  2.Brasch,74.  3.  Briffault  3,  242.  4.  Fielding,  155. 
5.  Brasch,  72.  6.  Bullough,  300;  Rugoff,  325-26. 

var.  dryads,  druides, 
druidai,  drysidae, 
Gaulish  druvis,  Old 
Irish  drui.1 


Europe's  sacred-oak  cultists  were  known  by  many  names.  Greek 
myth  said  the  dryads  were  oak  nymphs,  each  an  oracular  priestess  with 
her  own  personal  tree  spirit,  like  the  biblical  Deborah  who  lived 
under  a  tree  that  bore  her  own  name  (Judges  4:5).  Dryads  were  called 
priestesses  of  Artemis,  whose  souls  dwelt  in  their  trees.  They  could 
also  assume  the  shapes  of  serpents,  and  were  then  called  Hamadryads, 
or  Amadryades.2  In  their  druidic  groves  throughout  northern  Europe, 
Strabo  said,  they  practiced  rites  "similar  to  the  orgies  of  Samothrace."* 

Dryadism  and  druidism  were  two  phases  of  the  same  religion, 
evidently  restricted  to  a  female  priesthood  in  the  earlier,  matriarchal 
stage,  later  open  to  male  priests  as  well.  Gaulish  and  British  priests  of  th< 
oak  groves  formed  a  class  of  bardic  wizards,  keeping  a  sacred  tradition 
by  memorizing  orally  transmitted  material,  the  nucleus  of  medieval 
sagas,  epics,  and  ballads. 

There  is  no  break  between  the  ancient  semi-magical  formulae  chanted  b4 
the  Druids  and  the  later  incantation  of  the  wizard  and  the  "wise- 
woman.  "  They  both  arose  in  the  Veda-like  sacred  hymns  which  formed 
the  depository  of  the  learning  professed  by  the  body  of  the  druidical 
teachers  and  diviners  and  taught  orally  in  the  druidic  schools.  Most  of 
them  were  never  written  down,  and  the  fragments  that  we  possess  in 
writing  are  probably  only  the  remains  of  a  considerable  body  of  oral 
literature. 4 

Druids  were  attacked  by  the  Christian  church  for  their  pagan- 
ism, but  especially  for  their  propensity  to  include  sacred  women  in  their 
ranks.  Scot  said  even  in  his  day  there  were  feminine  spirits  associated 
with  trees,  called  Dryads  in  Greece  and  Druids  in  Scotland.  They  were 
shape-shifters,  and  could  appear  as  either  birds  or  women.  "They 
know  our  thoughts,  and  can  prophesy  of  things  to  come." 5 

Despite  nominal  conversion  to  Christianity,  the  Irish  clung  to 
druidism  for  many  centuries.  Their  revered  pagan  king  Diarmuid  was  i 


called  "half  a  druid  and  half  a  Christian."  To  make  St.  Patrick's  legend  Durga 

more  palatable  to  the  Irish,  monks  claimed  he  had  been  educated  by  a 

druid.6  Irish  churches  were  known  by  the  old  druidic  name  of  dairthech,      ^^^^^^^^^^ 
"oak-house,"  formerly  applied  to  the  sacred  grove.7 

The  "colleges"  of  druidesses,  or  dryads,  passed  by  almost  imper- 
ceptible degrees  into  a  new  designation  of  Christian  nuns.  One  of  the 
three  classes  of  druidesses  consisted  of  secluded  sisterhoods,  like  the 
priestesses  of  Brigit,  living  in  convent-like  sanctuaries  and  tending 
sacred  fires  that  were  kept  perpetually  burning.  Another,  less  secluded 
class  of  druidesses  consisted  of  married  women  who  lived  at  the 
temple  and  went  home  occasionally  to  visit  their  husbands.  A  third  class 
was  composed  of  temple  servants  who  lived  with  their  families.8  With 
the  coming  of  Christianity,  the  high  holy  sisterhoods  were  assimilated  as 
nuns.  The  others  were  usually  described  as  witches. 

The  druidic  religion  lasted  a  surprisingly  long  time  over  a  surpris- 
ingly wide  geographical  area.  Christians  continued  to  worship  oak 
deities  in  their  sacred  groves  through  the  8th  century  a.d.  in  Hesse. 
According  to  Gildas,  Christian  monks  copied  their  tonsure  from  the 
druids.  Traces  of  druidism  were  found  as  late  as  1874  in  Russia.9  Even 
clearer  traces  were  found  in  the  20th  century  in  the  Holy  Land, 
where  the  Goddess  of  the  sacred  groves  was  worshipped  as  Asherah 
since  pre-biblical  times,  and  was  known  in  Canaan  as  progenitress  of 
the  gods.10  Her  priestesses  the  oak-nymphs  continued  to  be  venerated 
under  the  title  of  Benat  Ya'kob  (Daughters  of  Jacob),  said  to  dwell  in 
their  trees  near  old  shrines  that  were  rededicated  to  mythical  Moslem 
saints.  The  trees  were  taboo.  Their  wood  was  never  taken  for  fuel, 
except  for  votive  purposes.11 

To  some  extent  the  mystical  reverence  for  oak  trees  persists  to  this 
day.  Many  British  and  American  towns  have  their  venerable  "Char- 
ter Oak"  or  some  superannuated  tree  where  seasonal  ceremonies  take 
place.  Acorns  and  oak  leaves  are  still  considered  appropriate  for 
wreaths  and  harvest  decorations,  even  if  they  no  longer  crown  the 
|  Goddess's  sacred  kings. 

1.  Piggott,  105-6.  2.  Lawson,  153.  3.  Haining,  23.  4.  Spence,  33, 151. 
5.  Scot,  417.  6.  Spence,  42,  53,  56.  7.  de  Paor,  60.  8.  Boulding,  319. 
9.  Spence,  78,  108.  10.  Pritchard,  A.N.E.  1, 97.  1 1.  Frazer,  F.O.T.,  329. 


Kali's  Creating-Preserving-Destroying  trinity  was  said  to  consist  of 
Parvati  or  Maya  the  Virgin,  Durga  the  Queen-Mother,  and  Uma  or 
jPrisni  the  Crone.  Durga  was  entitled  "The  Inaccessible."  A  crowned 
Kmazon,  she  rode  tigers  into  battle  and  defeated  many  demonic 
monsters,  defending  her  children  the  gods.1  Like  other  forms  of  the 
poddess-as-warrior,  such  as  the  Middle-Eastern  Ma-Bellona,  Durga 


Dusii  drank  the  blood  of  her  enemies.2  What  this  really  meant  was  that  her 

Dymphna,  Saint  altars  or  images  were  anointed  with  the  blood  of  war  captives,  killed  as 

^^g^^^B^      trophies. 

As  "The  Inaccessible,"  Durga  personified  the  fighting  spirit  of  a 
mother  protecting  her  young,  and  perhaps  also  the  nursing  mother 
sexually  "inaccessible"  to  men,  according  to  the  old  Oriental  custom. 
Durga  stood  for  the  basic  animal  instincts  of  maternity,  for  which  the 
adult  male  is  no  longer  significant,  and  only  her  offspring  claims  a 
mother's  attention. 

Durga  was  sometimes  Shasthi,  "the  Sixth,"  Leader  of  the  Moth- 
ers. This  title  arose  from  the  custom  of  invoking  her  on  the  sixth  day 
after  childbirth,  when  the  continuous  spells  for  protection  of  mother  and 
child  could  be  brought  to  an  end.  The  seventh  day  was  a  day  of  rest.3 
This  was  the  true  beginning  of  the  common  patriarchal  legend  of  gods 
who  gave  birth  to  the  world  in  six  days  and  rested  on  the  seventh. 
Among  such  gods  were  Persia's  Ahura  Mazda,  Memphian  Ptah,  Babylo- 
nian Marduk,  Syrian  Baal,  and  the  Hebraic  Jehovah.4 

Durga's  titles  and  character  penetrated  western  ideas  of  the  God- 
dess before  the  first  century  B.C.  Rome's  Great  Mother  Juno  had  the 
same  attributes  as  her  Oriental  sister;  she  was  Juno  the  Preserver, 
Queen  of  the  Mothers.5 

l.L*rousse,333.  2.  O'Flaherty,  249.  3.  O'Flaherty,  49,  353. 
4.  Hooke,  M.E.M.,  73.  5.  Dumezil,  297. 


Gaulish  word  for  gods,  from  Latin  deus.  In  medieval  Christian 
writings,  a  synonym  for  incubus. 


Hebrew  word  for  a  possessing  demon,  especially  a  "clinging"  one 
who  would  not  leave  its  human  host  until  thoroughly  exorcised. 

var.  Dympna  Dymphna,  Saint 

A  canonization  of  what  seems  to  have  been  a  bit  of  graffiti  on  a  brick 
found  near  Antwerp  in  the  1 3th  century.  The  brick  was  buried  near  a 
coffin  containing  the  bones  of  an  unidentified  man  and  woman.  The 
words  on  the  brick  were  ma  dompna,  "my  lady,"  the  traditional  address 
of  a  medieval  poet  to  his  lady-love. 

Though  having  no  more  basis  than  these  words  on  an  old  brick, 



the  cult  of  St.  Dymphna  was  carefully  developed.  A  large  asylum 
near  Gheel  was  named  after  her,  so  she  became  the  patron  saint  of  the 
insane — perhaps  appropriately.  To  this  day  she  is  still  touted  as  the 
intercessor  for  people  with  emotional  problems.1 

l.Attwater,  108. 

Dymphna,  Saint 


The  Creation  of  eve,  in 
the  version  that  says 
she  was  made  from  one 
of  Adam's  ribs. 
Florentine  School. 
Wood  panel;  Fra 
Bartolommeo,  ca.  1510. 

europa  and  the  Bull,  here 
shown  on  a  red-figure 
vase,  approximately  1 1 
by  1 1  inches.  Greek, 
ca.  490  b.c. 

Eag'e  Eagle 

Classic  soul-bird,  symbol  of  apotheosis  associated  with  the  sun  god, 
■■^^^^^^^■■^      fire,  and  lightning.  Greeks  thought  eagles  so  closely  akin  to  the  lightning 
spirit  that  they  nailed  eagles  to  the  peaks  of  temples  to  serve  as  magic 
lightning  rods.  Hence  the  name  aetoi,  "eagles,"  for  the  pediments  of 
Greek  temples.1  These  were  ancient  forerunners  of  the  "weather- 
cock" on  the  rooftree  of  a  barn  or  house. 

Cults  of  fire  and  the  sun  made  the  eagle  a  bearer  of  kingly  spirit: 
the  god's  soul  returning  to  heaven  after  a  period  of  earthly  incarna- 
tion as  the  king.2  It  was  the  Roman  custom  to  release  an  eagle  above  the 
funeral  pyre  of  each  emperor,  just  as  an  Egyptian  pharoah  rose  to 
heaven  on  the  wings  of  the  solar  hawk.3 

Zeus  himself  took  the  shape  of  an  eagle  to  carry  his  young  lover 
Ganymede  to  heaven.  This  was  often  interpreted  as  a  symbol  of  the 
father-god's  reception  of  men's  souls  when  they  were  initiated  into  the 
solar  Mysteries.4 

The  eagle  was  connected  with  rites  of  calling  down  "fire  from 
heaven,"  probably  with  a  burning-glass,  to  consume  sacrifices  on  the 
altar.  Such  "fire  from  heaven"  came  down  from  Yahweh  to  consume 
the  sons  of  Aaron  (Leviticus  10:2),  who  died  like  sacrificial  victims  to 
the  solar  gods  of  Tyre.  Such  victims  "passed  through  the  fire"  as 
offerings,  and  rose  to  heaven  in  the  form  of  eagles. 

We  must  bear  in  mind  that  in  the  East,  whence  all  these  beliefs  and  cults 
derive,  not  only  was  fire  regarded  as  an  all-powerful  purifying  agent, 
but  death  by  fire  was  looked  upon  as  an  apotheosis  which  raised  the  victim 
to  the  rank  of  the  gods. . . .  "Fire,  "says  Iamblichus,  "destroys  the 
material  part  of  sacrifices,  it  purifies  all  things  that  are  brought  near  it, 
releasing  them  from  the  bonds  of  matter  and,  in  virtue  of  the  purity  of 
its  nature,  making  them  meet  for  communion  with  the  gods.  So,  too,  it 
releases  us  from  bondage  of  corruption,  it  likens  us  to  the  gods. 5 

The  eagle  was  often  identified  with  the  fire  bird  or  phoenix, 
who  underwent  a  baptism  of  the  fire  that  "burns  all  sins"  and  was 
reborn  from  his  own  ashes.  The  eagle  also  stood  for  the  soul  of 
Heracles,  who  passed  through  fire  into  heaven  at  seasonal  festivals  of 
Tarsus,  and  inspired  St.  Paul's  belief  in  the  virtue  of  giving  one's 
body  to  be  burned  (1  Corinthians  13:3).  The  eagle  was  the  totemic 
form  of  Prometheus,  who  "stole"  fire  from  heaven,  like  the  eastern 
fire-lightning-sun  hero,  man,  or  angel  embodied  in  the  Garuda  bird. 
Garuda  flew  to  the  mountain  of  paradise  to  steal  the  gods'  secret  of 
immortality.  Later,  he  assumed  the  golden  body  of  the  sun.  American 
Indians  had  a  similar  hero,  the  thunderbird  or  lightning  bird.6 

As  the  royal  bird  of  Rome,  and  the  embodiment  of  deified 
emperors,  the  eagle  was  worshipped  by  Roman  legionaries.  Each 
legion  had  its  sacred  eagles,  carried  into  battle  like  banners.  If  a  legion 
should  lose  its  eagles,  the  disgrace  was  unbearable;  another  whole 
expedition  might  be  mounted  to  recover  them.7 


The  Roman  imperial  emblem  was  inherited  by  the  Germanic  E-Anna 

"Holy  Roman  Empire"  and  its  Kaisers,  derived  from  Caesars.  Thus  Earth 

the  eagle  became  a  Teutonic  symbol  of  sovereignty.  ^^^^^^^^^^^ 

l.Reinach,90.  2.  Strong,  182.  3.  Campbell,  Oc.M.,  334.  4.  Strong  187 
5.  Strong,  194.  6.  Hallet,  376.  7.  Tacitus,  41. 


"Land  of  Anna,"  one  of  the  territories  of  Babylon,  named  after  the 
Goddess  under  one  of  her  most  common  Mesopotamian  names  (see 
Anne,  Saint). 


Herodotus  said,  "Three  different  names  have  been  given  to  the 
earth,  which  is  but  one,  and  those  derived  from  the  names  of  women." ' 
Herodotus  miscounted.  Thousands  of  feminine  names  have  been 
given  to  the  earth.  Continents — Asia,  Africa,  Europe — were  named 
after  manifestations  of  the  Goddess.  Countries  bore  the  names  of 
female  ancestors  or  of  other  manifestations  of  the  Goddess:  Libya, 
Lydia,  Russia,  Anatolia,  Latium,  Holland,  China,  Ionia,  Akkad, 
Chaldea,  Scotland  (Scotia),  Ireland  (Eriu,  Hera)  were  but  a  few.2  Every 
nation  gave  its  own  territory  the  name  of  its  own  Mother  Earth. 
Tacitus  said  the  tribes  of  Europe  regarded  Mother  Earth  as  "the  all- 
ruling  deity,  to  whom  all  else  is  subject  and  obedient."3 

Mother  Earth  received  universal  worship  because  she  was  the 
universal  parent.  American  Indians  still  relate  how  all  peoples  and 
animals  in  the  beginning  emerged  from  Earth's  yonic  hole,  and  "it  was 
just  like  a  child  being  born  from  its  mother.  The  place  of  emergence 
is  the  womb  of  the  earth."  Siberian  reindeer  hunters  say  the  human  race 
emerged  from  a  Goddess,  whose  carved  figurines  protect  the  hunter's 
hut,  when  given  offerings  and  prayers:  "Help  us  to  keep  healthy!  Help 
us  to  kill  much  game!"4 

The  central  doctrine  of  Amerindian  religion  was  reincarnation  in  a 
new  body  from  Mother  Earth's  womb,  the  ancient  meaning  of  "born 
again."  A  chief  named  Smohalla  spoke  of  his  moral  obligations  formed 
by  this  doctrine: 

It  is  a  sin  to  wound  or  cut,  to  tear  or  scratch  our  common  mother  by 
working  at  agriculture.  You  ask  me  to  dig  in  the  earth?  Am  I  to  take  a 
knife  and  plunge  it  into  the  breast  of  my  mother?  But  then,  when  I  die, 
she  will  not  gather  me  again  into  her  bosom.  You  tell  me  to  dig  up  and 
take  away  the  stones.  Must  I  mutilate  her  flesh  so  as  to  get  at  her  bones? 
Then  I  can  never  again  enter  into  her  body  and  be  born  again. 5 

Oriental  Indians  had  much  the  same  idea  about  entering  the 


Earth  earth.  Hindu  priests  told  a  dead  man:  "Go,  seek  the  earth,  that  wise  and 

kind  mother  of  all.  O  Earth,  rise  up  and  do  not  hurt  his  bones;  be 

■■■^^^^^^^^m       kind  and  gentle  to  him.  O  Earth,  cover  him  as  a  mother  covers  her 
infant  with  the  skirts  of  her  garment."6 

Ancient  Roman  philosophers  had  the  same  idea  too.  "The  Earth 
Mother  is  the  mysterious  power  that  awakes  everything  to  life. ...  All 
comes  from  the  earth  and  all  ends  in  the  earth  ...  the  earth  produces  all 
things  and  then  enfolds  them  again  . . .  the  Goddess  is  the  beginning 
and  end  of  all  life."  A  Roman  writer  of  the  3rd  century  a.d.  prayed  to 
"Holy  Goddess  Earth,  Nature's  mother,  who  bringeth  all  to  life,  and 
revives  all  from  day  to  day.  The  food  of  life  Thou  grantest  in  eternal 
fidelity.  And  when  the  soul  hath  retired  we  take  refuge  in  Thee.  All 
that  Thou  grantest  falls  back  somewhere  into  Thy  womb."7 

Patriarchal  Christians  might  have  been  expected  to  speak  of  Father 
Heaven  rather  than  Mother  Earth,  yet  even  they  found  it  impossible 
to  give  up  the  older  deity.  The  epitaph  of  Pope  Gregory  the  Great  said: 
Suscipe  Terra  tuo  de  corpore  sumptum:  "Receive,  O  Earth,  what 
was  taken  from  thy  body."  8  Even  up  to  the  20th  century,  tombstones  of 
German  Christians  bore  the  formula:  Hier  ruht  im  Mutterschoss  der 
Erde . . . ,  "Here  rests  in  Earth's  maternal  womb. . .  ."9  In  Chaucer's 
Pardoner's  Tale  an  old  man  pleaded  with  the  Goddess: 

. . .  /  walk  alone  and  wait 
About  the  earth,  which  is  my  mother's  gate, 
Knock-knocking  with  my  staff  from  night  to  noon 
And  crying,  "Mother,  open  to  me  soon! 
Look  at  me,  Mother,  won  'tyou  Jet  me  in? 
See  how  I  wither,  flesh  and  bones  and  skin! 
Alas!  When  will  these  bones  be  laid  to  rest?"10 

This  was  more  than  a  poetic  metaphor.  As  late  as  the  1 2th 
century,  many  Europeans  still  recognized  Mother  Earth  as  a  Goddess, 
perhaps  their  only  supreme  divinity.  She  was  described  in  an  English 
herbal  of  the  period  with  no  mention  of  God  at  all: 

Earth,  divine  goddess,  Mother  Nature,  who  dost  generate  all  things  and 
bringest  forth  ever  anew  the  sun  which  thou  hast  given  to  the  nations; 
Guardian  of  sky  and  sea  and  of  all  Gods  and  powers;  through  thy 
influence  all  nature  is  hushed  and  sinks  to  sleep. . . .  Again,  when  it 
pleases  thee,  thou  sendest  forth  the  glad  daylight  and  nurturest  life  with 
thine  eternal  surety;  and  when  the  spirit  of  man  passes,  to  thee  it 
returns.  Thou  art  indeed  rightly  named  Great  Mother  of  the  Gods; 
Victory  is  thy  divine  name.  Thou  art  the  source  of  the  strength  of 
peoples  and  gods;  without  thee  nothing  can  either  be  born  or  made 
perfect;  thou  art  mighty,  Queen  of  the  Gods.  Goddess,  I  adore  thee  as 
divine,  I  invoke  thy  name;  vouchsafe  to  grant  that  which  I  ask  of  thee,  so 
shall  I  return  thanks  to  thy  godhead. " 

Up  to  the  Renaissance,  English  farmers  continued  to  call  upon 
Erce,  eorthan  modor  (Earth,  mother  of  earth)  when  planting.12  Similar- 


ly,  up  to  the  20th  century,  Russian  farmers  continued  to  call  upon  Earth 

Mati-Syra-Zemlya  (Moist  Mother  Earth)  for  almost  everything.  Instead 

of  touching  a  Bible  when  taking  an  oath,  a  Russian  peasant  would  put  ^^^^^^^^^^ 

a  clod  of  earth  on  his  head,  invoking  the  Mother's  curse  if  he  broke  his 
word.13  This  perpetuated  an  ancient  Greek  habit.  Even  the  patriar- 
chal Olympian  gods  swore  their  binding  oaths  by  Mother  Earth:  Gaea, 
or  Rhea,  called  Universal  Mother,  Deep-Breasted  One,  firmly 
founded,  oldest  of  divinities.13  Hesiod  admitted  that  she  ruled  Olympus 
before  the  coming  of  the  Hellenic  deities.  She  ruled  Russia  too.  The 
country  bore  her  ancient  name,  Rha  (Rhea),  the  Red  One,  mother  of 
the  Volga  and  all  its  tribes.14 

Home  and  Mother  were  literally  identical  to  people  who  combined 
both  in  their  image  of  the  earth-goddess.  Many  believed  they  must  be 
buried  in  the  same  soil  that  supported  them  in  childhood.  Threatened 
by  invaders,  the  matriarchal  Cimmerians  could  have  saved  them- 
selves by  moving  away  from  their  homeland;  but  they  chose  to  face 
superior  numbers  of  enemies,  and  die  where  they  were,  believing 
their  lives  valueless  if  they  couldn't  re-unite  with  the  same  Earth  that 
gave  them  birth.15  The  Egyptian  traveler  Sinuhe  felt  the  approach  of 
death  and  hurried  home  to  his  motherland  "to  follow  the  Lady  of  All," 
hoping  that  she  would  "spend  eternity  by  my  side." 16 

Post-mortem  reunion  with  the  Mother  always  overlapped  with 
the  idea  of  marrying  her.  Man  seldom  distinguished  clearly  between  his 
three  roles  as  the  Goddess's  child,  corpse,  and  bridegroom.  Balkan 
peasants  still  view  death  as  a  sacred  marriage,  and  dress  corpses  as  for  a 
wedding.  Formal  dirges  say:  "The  black  earth  for  my  wife  I  took." 
Ancient  Greek  epitaphs  similarly  proclaimed  the  dead  man  "admitted  to 
the  bridal  chamber  of  Persephone."  Artemidorus  wrote:  "All  the 
accompaniments  of  marriage  are  exactly  the  same  as  those  of  death." 17 

The  archetypal  image  of  the  marriage-with-Earth  had  a  curious 
revival  in  the  special  mid- Victorian  pornography  known  as  pornoto- 
pia,  in  which  the  female  body  was  a  landscape,  and  man 
correspondingly  reduced  in  fantasy  to  about  the  size  of  a  fly: 

In  the  middle  distance  there  looms  a  large  irregular  shape.  On  the  horizon 
swell  two  immense  snowy  white  hillocks;  these  are  capped  by  great, 
pink,  and  as  it  were  prehensile  peaks  or  tips— as  if  the  rosy-fingered  dawn 
itself  were  playing  just  behind  them.  The  landscape  undulates  gently 
down  to  a  broad,  smooth,  swelling  plain,  its  soft  rolling  curves  broken  only 
in  the  lower  center  by  a  small  volcanic  crater  or  omphalos.  Farther 
down,  the  scene  narrows  and  changes  in  perspective.  Off  to  the  right  and 
left  jut  two  smooth  snowy  ridges.  Between  them,  at  their  point  of 
juncture,  is  a  dark  wood . . .  sometimes  it  is  called  a  thicket . . .  triangular 
in  shape.  It  is  also  like  a  cedarn  cover,  and  in  its  midst  is  a  dark  romantic 
chasm.  In  this  chasm  the  wonders  of  nature  abound.  From  its  top  there 
depends  a  large,  pink  stalactite,  which  changes  shape,  size,  and  color  in 
accord  with  the  movement  of  the  tides  below  and  within.  Within  the 
chasm— which  is  roughly  pear-shaped— there  are  caverns  measureless 


Earth  to  man,  grottoes,  hermits'  caves,  underground  streams — a  whole  internal 

and  subterranean  landscape.  The  climate  is  warm  but  wet.  Thunder- 

^^__^^___^^^^_  storms  are  frequent  in  this  region,  as  are  tremors  and  quakings  of  the 

earth.  The  walls  of  the  cavern  often  heave  and  contract  in  rhythmic 
violence,  and  when  they  do  the  salty  streams  that  run  through  it  double 
their  flow.  The  whole  place  is  dark  yet  visible.  This  is  the  center  of  the 
earth  and  the  home  of  man. IS 

Marcus  attributes  these  images  of  pornotopia  to  a  spiritual  loss, 
possibly  related  in  a  direct  way  to  contemporary  denial  of  the  earth- 
mother  figure  in  a  religious  symbolism,  as  well  as  Victorian  society's 
suppression  of  sexuality: 

One  gets  the  distinct  impression,  after  reading  a  good  deal  of  this 
literature,  that  it  could  only  have  been  written  by  men  who  at  some 
point  in  their  lives  had  been  starved. . . .  Inside  of  every  pornographer 
there  is  an  infant  screaming  for  the  breast  from  which  he  has  been  torn. 
Pornography  represents  an  endless  and  infinitely  repeated  effort  to  recap- 
ture that  breast,  and  the  bliss  it  offered.  '9 

Acquisitiveness  seems  to  have  been  another  manifestation  of  the 
hidden  psychic  hunger  for  possession  of  Mother  Earth.  Her  European 
names  Urth,  Hertha,  Eortha,  Erda,  Hretha,  etc.  stemmed  from 
Sanskrit  Artha,  " materia]  wealth."  Among  the  Hindu-rooted  gypsies, 
"earth"  meant  good  luck,  fortune,  money.20  Latin  Mater  (Mother) 
became  English  "matter,"  of  which  Plutarch  said,  "Matter  hath  the 
function  of  mother  and  nurse  . . .  and  containeth  the  elements  from 
which  everything  is  produced."21  Tibetans  still  say  the  elements  are 
produced  by  the  Old  Mother.22  The  material  body  has  the  special 
name  of  Anna-Maya,  variations  of  which  appeared  everywhere  in  the 
ancient  Mediterranean  world  as  names  of  the  Great  Goddess.23  The 
"soul  manifested  in  matter"  is  defined  as  the  Anna-Maya  self.  The  sages 
say,  "Mind  and  matter  are  at  base  one  as  modes  of  the  same  Power. 
. . .  Mind  is  the  subjective  and  Matter  the  objective  aspect  of  the  one 
polarized  Consciousness."24 

Western  theology  split  this  former  unity  into  a  duality,  regarding 
matter  (or  flesh)  and  mind  (or  spirit)  as  intrinsically  different  from, 
and  opposed  to,  one  another.  Thus,  says  Jung,  "the  word  'matter' 
remains  a  dry,  inhuman,  and  purely  intellectual  concept,  without  any 
psychic  significance  for  us.  How  different  was  the  former  image  of 
matter — the  Great  Mother — that  could  encompass  and  express  the 
profound  emotional  meaning  of  Mother  Earth."25 

After  the  image  of  Mother  Earth  as  birth-giver,  perhaps  that  of 
Mother  Earth  as  receiver  of  the  dead  aroused  the  most  profound 
emotional  responses.  When  death  was  viewed  as  a  return  to  the  infantile 
state  of  sleep  in  the  Mother's  bosom,  it  seemed  less  terrifying.  The 
Rig  Veda  says,  "Crawl  to  your  Mother  Earth.  She  will  save  you  from 
the  void."26  In  medieval  ballads,  the  hero's  lady-love  sometimes 
impersonated  Mother  Earth  by  covering  her  lover  with  her  green 


mantle,  to  put  him  "out  of  sight"  as  if  buried.27  Greek  peasants  Easter 

thought  the  worst  kind  of  curse  on  an  enemy  was  to  wish  Mother  Earth 

would  not  accept  him:  "May  the  earth  not  digest  thee!  May  the  black  ^^^^^^^^^^— 

earth  spew  thee  up!  May  the  ground  not  consume  thee!"28  Such  a  one 

rejected  by  the  earth  would  be  a  revenant  or  a  restless  ghost. 

In  France  during  the  12th  century,  a  sect  of  heretics  were  sent  to 
the  stake  by  the  Archbishop  of  Reims,  apparently  for  worshipping 
Mother  Earth,  among  other  offenses.  Led  to  execution,  one  of  them 
"cried  again  and  again,  'O  Earth,  cleave  asunder!'"  His  hearers 
thought  he  was  trying  to  get  the  earth  to  swallow  his  enemies,  but  he 
may  have  believed  the  earth  could  open  and  swallow  him  to  save  him 
from  the  stake.29  Like  the  original  death  aspect  of  Rhea  or  Cerridwen, 
Mother  Earth  still  was  supposed  to  devour  her  children. 

1.  Herodotus,  226.  2.  Agrippa,  269.  3.  Tacitus,  728.  4.  Campbell,  P.M.,  240,  314. 
5.deRiencourt,  23.  6.  Hauswirth,  21.  7.  Vermaseren,  10, 49.  8.  de  Voragine,  187. 
9.  Lederer,  24.  10.  Caucer,  269-70.  11.  Graves,  W.G.,  64.  1 2.  Turville-Petre,  1 88. 
13.  Larousse,  89,  287.  14.  Thomson,  252.  15.  Mumford,416.  16.  Maspero,  83. 
17.  Lawson,  547,554.  18.  Marcus,  271-72.  19.  Marcus,  273-74.  20.  Leland,  99. 
21.  Knight,  S.L.,  22.  22.  Bardo  Thodol,  15;  Waddell,  484.  21.  Mahanirvanatantra,  11. 
24.  Avalon,  49,  318.  25.  Jung,  M.H.S.,  95.  26.  H.  R.  E.  Davidson,  G.M.V.,  92. 
27.  Wimberly,  390.  28.  Summers,  V,  161.  29.  Coulton,  55. 


Springtime  sacrificial  festival  named  for  the  Saxon  Goddess  Eostre, 
or  Ostara,  a  northern  form  of  Astarte.  Her  sacred  month  was  Eastre- 
monath,  the  Moon  of  Eostre.1 

Saxon  poets  apparently  knew  Eostre  was  the  same  Goddess  as 
India's  Great  Mother  Kali.  Beowulf  spoke  of  "Ganges'  waters,  whose 
flood  waves  ride  down  into  an  unknown  sea  near  Eostre's  far  home."2 

The  Easter  Bunny  was  older  than  Christianity;  it  was  the  Moon- 
hare  sacred  to  the  Goddess  in  both  eastern  and  western  nations. 
Recalling  the  myths  of  Hathor- Astarte  who  laid  the  Golden  Egg  of  the 
sun,  Germans  used  to  say  the  hare  would  lay  eggs  for  good  children 
on  Easter  Eve.3  (See  Cat.) 

Like  all  the  church's  "movable  feasts,"  Easter  shows  its  pagan 
origin  in  a  dating  system  based  on  the  old  lunar  calendar.  It  is  fixed  as 
the  first  Sunday  after  the  first  full  moon  after  the  spring  equinox, 
formerly  the  "pregnant"  phase  of  Eostre  passing  into  the  fertile 
season.  The  Christian  festival  wasn't  called  Easter  until  the  Goddess's 
name  was  given  to  it  in  the  late  Middle  Ages.4  (See  Menstrual 

The  Irish  kept  Easter  on  a  different  date  from  that  of  the  Roman 
church,  probably  the  original  date  of  the  festival  of  Eostre,  until  the 
Roman  calendar  was  imposed  on  them  in  632  a.d.  Nevertheless,  the 
Columban  foundation  and  their  colonies  in  Britain  kept  the  old  date 
for  another  fifty  years.5 

The  Persians  began  their  solar  New  Year  at  the  spring  equinox, 


Ecclesia  and  up  to  the  middle  of  the  1 8th  century  they  still  followed  the  old 

custom  of  presenting  each  other  with  colored  eggs  on  the  occasion.6 

^ m^^^^m      Eggs  were  always  symbols  of  rebirth,  which  is  why  Easter  eggs  were 

usually  colored  red — the  life-color — especially  in  eastern  Europe.  Rus- 
sians used  to  lay  red  Easter  eggs  on  graves  to  serve  as  resurrection 
charms.7  In  Bohemia,  Christ  was  duly  honored  on  Easter  Sunday  and 
his  pagan  rival  on  Eastern  Monday,  which  was  the  Moon-day 
opposed  to  the  Sun-day.  Village  girls  like  ancient  priestesses  sacrificed 
the  Lord  of  Death  and  threw  him  into  water,  singing,  "Death  swims 
in  the  water,  spring  comes  to  visit  us,  with  eggs  that  are  red,  with  yellow 
pancakes,  we  carried  Death  out  of  the  village,  we  are  carrying 
Summer  into  the  village."8 

Another  remnant  of  the  pagan  sacred  drama  was  the  image  of  the 
god  buried  in  his  tomb,  then  withdrawn  and  said  to  live  again.  The 
church  instituted  such  a  custom  early  in  the  Middle  Ages,  apparently  in 
hopes  of  a  reportable  miracle.  A  small  sepulchral  building  having 
been  erected  and  the  consecrated  host  placed  within,  a  priest  was  set  to 
watch  it  from  Good  Friday  to  Easter  Sunday.  Then  the  host  was 
taken  out  and  displayed,  and  the  congregation  was  told  Christ  was 

A  curious  16th-century  Easter  custom  was  known  as  "creeping  to 
the  cross  with  eggs  and  apples,"  a  significant  use  of  the  ancient 
female  symbols  of  birth  and  death,  beginning  and  fruition,  the  opening 
and  closing  of  cycles.  The  Ceremonial  of  the  Kings  of  England 
ordered  carpets  to  be  laid  in  the  church,  for  the  comfort  of  the  king, 
queen,  and  courtiers  as  they  crept  down  the  aisle  on  hands  and 
knees.10  The  penitential  implication  of  the  creeping  ceremony  is  clear 
enough,  but  the  female-symbolic  foodstuffs  are  a  bit  mysterious. 

Germany  applied  to  Easter  the  same  title  formerly  given  to  the 
season  of  the  sacred  king's  love-death,  Hoch-Zeit,  "the  High  Time." 
In  English  too,  Easter  used  to  be  called  "the  Hye-Tide."  n  From  these 
titles  came  the  colloquial  description  of  any  festival  holiday  as  "a  high 
old  time." 

1.  Knight,  D.W.P.,  157.  2.  Goodrich,  18.  3.  de  Lys,  1 17.  4.  H.  Smith,  201. 
5.  de  Paor,  70.  6.  Hazlitt,  201.  7.  Gaster,  603.  8.  Frazer,  G.B,  362. 
9.  Hazlitt,  28 1 .  10.  Hazlitt,  153.  11.  Hazlitt,  316. 


"The  Church,"  a  title  of  the  virgin  Mary,  who  was  supposed  to 
represent  the  physical  body  of  which  Christ  was  the  spiritual  head.  Holy 
Mother  Church  was  both  bride  and  mother  of  God,  according  to 
Christian  mystics,  postulating  even  an  incestuous  Sacred  Marriage  in 
the  old  pagan  style.  The  erotic  poetry  of  Solomon's  Song  was  glossed 
as  an  expression  of  the  love  between  Christ  and  "Ecclesia."  Irenaeus 
said  Mary-Ecclesia  was  "the  pure  womb  which  regenerates  man  unto 


God."  As  in  the  manner  of  pagan  temples,  even  the  church  building 
was  likened  to  Mary's  body. 



Greek  "nymph"  at  whose  reflecting  pool  Narcissus  met  his  death. 
According  to  the  classical  myth,  Echo  grieved  so  sorely  for  her  beloved 
flower-god  that  she  pined  away  until  there  was  nothing  left  of  her  but 
her  voice. 

Originally,  she  was  Acco,  the  pre-Hellenic  birth-goddess,  in  an 
oracular  mood  as  "the  last  echo  of  the  Voice,"  meaning  the  Voice  of 
Creation,  the  same  as  the  Goddess  Vac  in  ancient  India  (see  Logos).  In 
Hebrew  she  was  Bath  Kol,  Daughter  of  the  Voice.1 

Apparently  the  Word  she  spoke  to  the  springtime  god  Narcissus- 
Antheus-Adonis-Hyacinthus  was  the  death  curse  heralding  the  final 
phase  of  the  sacred  king's  fatal  drama;  for  Narcissus  was  the  same  god  as 
Dionysus  with  all  his  flower-titles.2 

1.  Leland,  220.  2.  Graves,  G.M.  1,  288. 

Irenaeus  Doctor, 
saint,  and  father  of  the 
church,  said  to  have 
lived  in  the  2nd  century 
a.d.  as  bishop  of 
Lyons.  His  history  is 
obscure,  largely 
based  on  (possibly 
fraudulent)  assertions 
of  Eusebius,  who 
claimed  to  have 
letters  from  Irenaeus, 
but  none  of  these 
were  preserved.  The 
story  of  Irenaeus's 
martyrdom  has  been 
proved  false. 


Greek  ekstasis  meant  "standing  forth  naked,"  a  word  for  the  state  of 

mind  ensuing  in  a  religious  trance  when  the  consciousness  was  stripped 
I away,  leaving  only  the  essential  self.  In  Greece  as  in  ancient  India, 

proper  worship  was  sometimes  conducted  in  a  state  of  physical  naked- 
Iness  (Hindu  digambara)  to  symbolize  purification  from  all 

distractions,  to  concentrate  on  the  ecstatic  experience. 


"Great-Grandmother,"  a  Norse  name  for  Mother  Earth  (Erda);  also 
the  word  for  sacred  poetry  inspired  by  her.  Icelandic  sagas  or  Eddas 
usually  opened  with  an  invocation  to  this  Goddess,  who  gave  birth  to 
the  oldest  third  of  the  human  race.1 

l.Turville-Petre,  150. 

sbrew  "Garden  of  Delight,"  based  on  the  Persian  Heden  or  primal 
rden  where  the  first  couple  were  joined  together  as  a  bisexual  being  in 
Golden  Age.  Like  all  images  of  the  earthly  paradise,  Eden  was 
ated  in  the  far  west  originally,  where  the  sun  went  each  night.  That  is 
ly  the  Bible  says  known  lands  lay  "east  of  Eden"  (Genesis  4:16). 


Edmund,  Saint  Edmund,  Saint 

Egg-and-Dart  Frieze 

Canonized  form  of  the  heathen  deity  worshipped  at  Bury  St.  Ed- 
munds, where  he  was  seasonally  slain,  like  Shiva,  in  the  shape  of  a  white 

Ritual  bull-killing  dated  back  to  the  Cretan  Minotaur  cult,  through 
rites  of  Artemis  Tauropolos,  the  Roman  Taurobolium,  and  via 
Iberian  paganism  up  to  the  bullfights  of  modern  Spain.  St.  Edmund's 
shrine  was  supposedly  founded  on  the  tomb  of  the  saint,  a  young 
man  who  became  "chosen  king"  of  the  East  Angles  in  the  9th  century.1 
But  his  legend  was  wholly  mythological.  Like  other  Celtic  savior-gods 
he  was  tied  to  a  tree  and  pierced  by  many  arrows:  the  same  fate  meted 
out  to  the  sacrificial  bull,  still  demonstrated  by  Spanish  picadors.  On 
Edmund's  heraldic  crest,  the  martyr's  head  was  held  by  a  wolf,  the 
traditional  Doorkeeper  of  Death,  and  the  Triple  Goddess  appeared 
symbolically  in  the  shape  of  three  Crowns.  (See  Dog.) 

Monastic  records  reveal  the  true  totemic  nature  of  "St.  Edmund." 
A  white  bull  was  chosen  each  year  to  be  paraded  through  the  streets, 
while  women  wishing  to  conceive  would  caress  him,  for  a  doomed  god 
was  usually  credited  with  great  fertilizing  power.  A  contract  paper 
from  the  monastery  said:  "This  indenture  certifies  that  Master  John 
Swassham,  sacrist,  with  the  consent  of  the  prior  of  the  convent . . . 
shall  find,  or  cause  to  be  found,  one  white  bull  every  year  of  his  term,  so 
often  as  it  shall  happen  that  any  gentlewoman,  or  any  other  woman, 
from  devotion  or  vows  made  by  them  shall  visit  the  tomb  of  the  glorious 
martyr  St.  Edmund  to  make  oblation  to  the  same  white  bull."2 

1.  Attwater,  109.  2.  Briffault  3,  190. 


Mystical  symbol  of  the  Creatress,  whose  World  Egg  contained  the 
universe  in  embryo.  Orphics  said  the  Great  Goddess  of  darkness, 
Mother  Night,  first  brought  forth  the  World  Egg  which  was  identi- 
fied with  the  moon.  Heaven  and  earth  were  made  of  the  two  halves  of 
the  eggshell,  and  the  first  deity  to  emerge  was  the  bisexual  Eros  the 
Desired.  The  Egg  was  a  common  Oriental  image  of  creation.  Its 
western  versions  "went  back  to  cosmologies  of  the  Tiamat-type  and 
to  early  exchanges  between  Greece  and  the  East." '  Egyptians'  signs  for 
the  World  Egg  was  the  same  as  for  an  embryo  in  a  woman's  womb. 

1.  Lindsay,  O. A.,  116. 

Egg-and-Dart  Frieze 

Classical  architectural  decoration  sometimes  called  the  Frieze  of 
Venus  and  Mars:  a  symbol  of  the  magic  circle  alternating  men  and 
women.  On  the  frieze,  ovals  alternate  with  trident-shaped  darts, 


female  and  male  genital  emblems.  Ancient  builders  carried  the  frieze  all  Eide 

the  way  around  a  building  or  room  without  a  break,  since  an  El 

interruption  in  the  frieze  could  mean  a  break  in  the  succession  of  i_^^^^^^^^^ 

human  generations. 

The  same  design  in  Egypt  presented  even  more  overtly  sexual 
hieroglyphs:  downward-pointing  phalli  alternating  with  narrow  man- 
dorlas  (female  almond  shapes),  each  topped  by  a  small  triangle 
representing  a  clitoris.1 

The  Tantric  "magic  circle"  or  chakra  was  a  human  equivalent  of 
the  Egg-and-Dart  frieze.  In  pagan  Britain,  druidic  priests  also  worked 
in  magic  circles  alternating  with  green-robed  dignitaries  known  as 
Ovates,  or  Eggs.2  Wearing  the  color  associated  with  Life  in  druidic 
religion,  these  must  have  been  priestesses,  like  the  eastern  shaktis,  or 
else  men  impersonating  women  by  wearing  female  dress. 

Many  counting-games  originated  with  the  magic  circle,  in  which 
the  even  numbers  were  assigned  to  men,  the  odd  numbers  to 
women.  Pagan  traditions  said  odd  numbers  represented  "immortality" 
because  all  odd  numbers  are  female.3  This  explains  why  Roman 
religious  festivals  were  scheduled  for  odd-numbered  days,  on  the  theory 
that  these  days  were  more  propitious. 

1 .  Book  of  the  Dead,  273.  2.  Pepper  &  Wilcock,  203.  3.  Wedeck,  66. 


"Goddess-within,"  Greek  concept  of  the  female  soul,  corresponding 
i  the  Latin  Idea.  Aristotle  was  one  of  the  first  philosophers  to  attempt 
replacing  this  ancient  notion  of  Mother-given  intelligence  with  a 
doctrine  of  astral  theology.1 
1.  Lindsay,  O.A.,  102. 

Eire  var.  Erin 

Celtic  name  of  Ireland,  from  "the  Lady  Eriu,"  or  Erinn,  the  Triple 
Goddess.1  She  was  a  form  of  Hera,  whose  apple-isle  was  located  on  an 
island  in  the  western  sea.2 

1.  Squire,  126.  2.  Graves,  G.M.  1, 93. 


General  Semitic  word  or  name  for  a  deity,  especially  in  combining 
forms,  as  Isra-el,  Beth-el,  Dani-el,  El-ijah.  Both  El  and  its  plural, 
elohim,  meaning  many  deities  of  both  sexes,  are  the  Hebrew  words 
rendered  "God"  by  biblical  translators.  Sometimes  "God"  is  Elias,  a 
Hebraic  version  of  the  sun  (Greek  Helios);  this  was  the  "father"  Jesus 



addressed  (Matthew  27:47-49).  In  Phoenicia,  El  was  the  Heavenly  Bull 
at  the  head  of  the  pantheon,  spouse  of  Asherah  as  Cow-Mother.  He 
usually  appeared  as  a  human  figure  wearing  the  head  or  horns  of  a  bull. 

var.  Elen,  Hel-Aine, 


Britain's  "Lily  Maid,"  the  virgin  Moon-goddess  bearing  the  same 
name  as  Helen  of  Troy;  British  tradition  claimed  the  islands  were 
colonized  by  Trojans.  According  to  the  bards,  the  Roman  emperor 
acquired  Britain  only  by  marrying  its  queen,  Elen.  The  people  agreed  to 
help  build  Roman  roads  because  she  ordered  them,  and  the  roads 
were  called  Roads  of  Elen  of  the  Hosts:  "The  men  of  the  Island  of 
Britain  would  not  have  made  those  great  hostings  for  any  save  for 

Elen  or  Elaine  became  the  mother-bride  of  Lancelot-Galahad  in 
Arthurian  romance.  Lancelot  the  father  begot  on  her  his  own 
reincarnation,  Galahad  the  son;  but  Lancelot  in  his  youth  had  been 
named  Galahad,  and  his  mother  was  Queen  Elaine.  The  Lily  Maid 
gave  Lancelot  her  sexual-symbolic  charm  to  make  him  invincible:  her 
pearl-bedewed  sleeve  of  red  silk.  The  womb-symbol  of  the  Holy 
Grail  was  displayed  in  her  castle,  tended  by  her  dove-soul,  Colombe. 
Galahad  saw  this  vision  again  in  his  last  moments,  as  he  expired  at  the 
altar  in  ancient  sacred-king  style.2 

1.  Mabinogion,  85.  2.  Malory  I,  377;  2,  268. 


One  of  the  Seven  Sisters  (see  Pleiades);  virgin  mother  of  Dardanus, 
founder  of  Troy,  whose  name  is  still  borne  by  the  Dardanelles.  Electra 
was  also  known  as  a  sea  nymph.  Myths  of  the  classic  period  made  her 
a  "daughter"  of  two  queens  responsible  for  their  husbands'  ritual 
murders,  Queen  Clytemnestra  and  Queen  Jocasta,  who  brought 
death  to  Agamemnon  and  Oedipus,  respectively.  Electra's  name  means 
"amber,"  and  may  have  been  applied  to  a  priestess  who  wore  certain 
amulets  of  amber  as  a  badge  of  office. 


On  each  of  the  inhabited  continents,  the  same  four  elements  were 
distinguished  as  building-blocks  of  all  substances  living  or  dead,  organic 
or  inorganic:  water,  fire,  earth,  and  air.  Indians  of  Missouri  and  New 
Mexico,  Aztecs,  Chinese,  Hindus,  ancient  Egyptians,  Greeks,  Ro- 
mans— all  had  the  same  idea.1  The  earliest  known  literate 
civilization,  Sumeria,  had  already  designated  the  elements  water,  fire, 
earth,  and  air.2  The  "science"  of  western  Europe  continued  to 


believe  in  the  same  mystic  elements  up  to  the  18th  century  when  real 
elements  began  to  be  discovered. 

Indo-European  tradition  said  the  four  elements  were  created  by 
Great  Mother  Kali,  who  organized  them  into  letter-mantras  carved 
on  her  rosary  of  skulls,  to  form  the  Sanskrit  alphabet,  which  she  invested 
with  power  to  create  what  it  expressed.  Elemental  sounds  were 
divided  into  four  categories:  Va,  water;  Ra,  fire;  La,  earth;  and  Ya,  air. 
They  were  bound  together  by  the  Mother-syllable  Ma  (Kali  Ma 
herself),  representing  "intelligence."3  Tibetan  Buddhists  still  say  the 
elements  are  ruled  by  "Old  Mother  Khon-Ma,"  the  Great  Goddess.4 

The  Goddess  was  addressed  in  scriptures:  "Thou  art  Earth,  Thou 
art  Water,  Thou  art  Fire,  Thou  art  Air,  Thou  art  the  Void,  Thou  art 
consciousness  itself,  Thou  art  life  in  this  world;  Thou  art  the  knowledge 
of  self,  and  Thou  art  the  Supreme  Divinity."5  The  ancient  theory  of 
the  human  body's  elemental  "humors,"  adopted  by  the  medical  profes- 
sion in  the  west  up  to  the  1 9th  century,  was  based  on  Kali's  supposed 
distribution  of  elements  in  living  forms.  She  gave  water  to  create  the 
blood  stream,  fire  to  make  its  vital  heat,  earth  to  produce  the  solid 
parts  of  the  body,  and  air  to  animate  it  with  breath.6 

This  theory  was  earnestly  adopted  by  western  philosophers.  Firmi- 
cus  Maternus  said  man  is  a  microcosm  "under  the  direction  of 
Nature  ...  so  that  within  the  small  compass  of  his  body  he  might  bestow 
under  the  requirements  of  Nature  the  whole  energy  and  substance  of 
the  elements."7 

The  same  elemental  symbols  shown  in  the  four  hands  of  Kali 
appeared  in  western  iconography  also.  Kali's  bowl  of  blood  signified 
water;  her  scepter  or  dorje  (lightning  bolt)  was  fire;  her  lotus  wheel 
stood  for  earth;  and  her  sword  was  air.  The  Greeks  assigned  their 
own  versions  of  these  symbols  to  the  Goddess  Nemesis  (Fate):  a  cup;  an 
apple-bough  or  wand;  a  wheel;  and  a  sword.8  Later  in  European 
history,  the  same  symbols  of  the  elements  gave  rise  to  the  four  suits  of 
the  Tarot  deck:  (1)  cups;  (2)  wands,  rods,  or  scepters;  (3)  pentacles, 
coins,  or  discs;  and  (4)  swords.  These  in  turn  evolved  into  the  modern 
hearts,  clubs,  diamonds,  and  spades. 

The  two  colors  now  allotted  to  the  four  suits  of  cards  echo  the  very 
ancient  Tantric  concept  of  two  sexes  expressing  themselves  as  ele- 
ments. Female  water  and  earth  were  paired  with  male  fire  and  air. 
Oriental  sages  maintained  that  mantras  with  a  preponderance  of  fiery 
or  airy  (male)  letters  are  cruel  and  destructive.  Mantras  with  a  prepon- 
derance of  watery  or  earthy  (female)  letters  are  benevolent.9  Like  the 
corresponding  card  suits  in  red,  the  life-color,  female  elements  were  said 
to  possess  the  active,  life-giving  energy.  Greek  philosophers  later 
reversed  this  opinion,  calling  male  elements  "active"  and  female  ele- 
ments "passive."  Yet,  even  in  the  Christian  Middle  Ages,  an 
aphorism  purportedly  derived  from  Moses  said,  "Only  Earth  and  Water 
bring  forth  a  living  soul." 10 

According  to  Thales  of  Miletus,  water  was  the  Arche,  the  first  of 


Thales  of  Miletus 

philosopher,  said  to  be 
one  of  the  Seven 
Wise  men  of  the  an- 
cient world. 



Elements  the  elements,  having  "mastery"  over  the  others  because  it  represent- 

ed the  abyssal  womb.11  The  combination  of  water  and  fire  as 
h^^^i^^      female-and-male  signified  a  very  ancient  theory  that  blood,  the  basic 
essence  of  life,  was  made  of  sea  water  infused  by  magic  fire  from 
heaven,  which  made  it  warm  and  red,  though  it  still  tasted  like  sea 
water.  Vedic  sages  sometimes  called  the  combination  Kali  and  Agni. 
The  Goddess,  fructified  by  Agni's  fire,  become  the  Ocean  of  Blood 
at  the  beginning  of  the  world,  source  of  the  vitality  of  all  living  things 
until  the  day  of  destruction.  "Sacred  fire"  symbolized  sexual  passion, 
its  heat  engendered  by  fire-from-heaven  gods  like  Agni,  Lucifer,  He- 
phaestus, Syrian  Baal,  Heracles-Melkart,  Thor-Heimdall,  etc.  The 
fire  god  lost  his  life  when  he  was  swallowed  up  by  the  all-encompassing 
Mother  of  Waters;  sages  said  he  was  "quenched  in  her  yoni"  like  a 
lightning  bolt  quenched  in  the  sea.12  (See  Lightning.)  This  image  led 
to  the  Roman  belief  that  the  feminine  water-element  was  dangerous 
to  men.13 

Of  the  other  male-female  pair,  the  air-earth  combination  obviously 
represented  Father  Heaven  and  Mother  Earth,  whose  separation  was 
caused  by  their  firstborn  son,  the  god  who  "divided  heaven  from  earth," 
an  Oedipal  myth  known  throughout  southeastern  Asia,  Oceania,  and 
ancient  Mesopotamia. 

Egyptians  assigned  a  male-and-female  pair  to  each  of  the  primordi- 
al elements  as  they  arose  from  the  undifferentiated  Abyss,  or  womb 
(Ma-Nu).  These  eight,  together  with  their  Great  Mother,  made  up  the 
first  Ennead  (Nine  Great  Deities).14  Their  elemental  totems  were 
associated  with  the  four  cardinal  points,  the  four  winds,  the  four  sides  of 
a  Holy  Mountain  (pyramid),  the  four  spirits  called  Sons  of  Horus 
who  guarded  the  corners  of  a  temple.15  These  were  like  the  four  Princes 
of  Heaven  revered  in  China  and  Japan  as  guardians  of  the  four 
cardinal  directions:  a  blue  dragon  in  the  east,  a  red  bird  in  the  south,  a 
white  tiger  in  the  west,  a  black  warrior  in  the  north.  Three  animal 
spirits  and  one  human  were  the  same  as  Egypt's  "four  powers  of 
Amenti." 16  The  same  elemental  totems  gave  rise  to  the  four  angels 
of  the  Apocalypse  and  the  four  evangelists,  symbolized  in  Christian 
iconography  as  a  bull  (earth),  lion  (fire),  serpent  (water),  and  eagle, 
angel,  or  man  (air). 

American  Indians  had  remarkably  similar  elemental  symbolism. 
Villages  and  camps  were  divided  into  four  quarters  or  phratries  of 
fire,  air,  water,  and  earth,  each  with  its  colors  and  totems.  For  example, 
the  Zunis  associated  wind  with  the  north,  war,  and  yellow;  fire  with 
the  south,  summer,  tillage,  and  red;  water  with  the  west,  spring,  peace, 
and  blue;  earth  with  the  east,  autumn,  magic,  and  white.  Aztec 
elemental  totems  were  the  rabbit  (north,  black,  winter,  air);  the  flint 
(south,  blue,  summer,  fire);  the  house  (east,  white,  autumn,  earth); 
and  the  cane  (west,  red,  spring,  water).17 

New  World  mythology  postulated  four  primordial  aeons,  each 
corresponding  to  an  element.  Sacred  histories  of  Mexico  showed  that 
each  of  the  former  ages  was  brought  to  destruction  by  the  same  element  I 


that  ruled  it.18  "Earth,  the  world  support  and  base,  became  the  Elements 

iswallower  of  things.  Air,  the  breath  of  life,  became  a  devastating  wind. 

Fire  that  descends  from  heaven  tempered  as  the  fire-of-life  in  ^^__^_^_^_ 

lifegiving  rain  came  down  as  a  rain  of  flames.  And  finally  Water,  gentle 

mothering  vehicle  of  the  energies  of  birth,  nourishment,  and  growth, 

became  a  deluge." 19 

These  myths  provide  a  clue  to  the  original  invention  of  the 

elements.  Of  all  substances  or  forces  in  the  world,  why  should  these 

four  have  been  chosen  as  the  basis  of  all  things?  The  simple  answer  is 

that  the  elements  represented  the  only  four  possible  ways  other  than 

cannibalism  to  dispose  of  a  dead  body,  thus  returning  it  to  an  "origin." 

A  body  could  be  buried  in  the  earth,  burned  with  fire,  thrown  into 

water,  or  given  to  the  birds  of  the  air.  Each  funerary  practice  was  viewed 

as  a  return  to  the  same  power  that  engendered  birth. 

The  same  four  methods  of  corpse-disposal  are  still  practiced  all 

together  in  Tantric  Tibet.  Common  folk  are  chopped  in  pieces  and 

exposed  to  carrion  birds,  as  are  the  Parsees  of  India  and  Persia. 

Wealthier  Tibetans  are  cremated,  or  buried  if  death  was  caused  by 

disease.  Sometimes,  as  among  the  Hindus,  corpses  are  thrown  into 
I  rivers  or  lakes.20  Vedic  peoples  followed  both  funerary  customs  of  burial 

and  cremation,  maintaining  that  Yama,  Lord  of  Death,  received  the 

soul  either  way.21 

Some  ancient  thinkers  tried  to  classify  different  nations  under 

elemental  categories,  possibly  on  the  basis  of  funeral  customs  pre- 
dominating in  them.  It  was  said  that  water-worship  belonged  to  Egypt 
and  the  Nilotic  Goddess;  Phrygians  were  worshippers  of  "the  earth, 
which  was  to  them  the  Great  Mother  of  everything;  the  Syrians  and 
Carthaginians  of  the  air,  which  they  adored  under  the  name  of 
celestial  Juno";  and  the  Persians  worshipped  fire.22 

A  few  traditions  listed  a  fifth  element  that  the  Greeks  called  ether, 
"heavenly,"  of  which  the  immortal  bodies  of  gods,  angels,  star-spirits, 
or  saints  were  made.  It  was  changeless,  having  no  part  in  the  eternal  flux 
of  other  elements  constantly  combining  and  re-combining.  The  idea 
of  changeless  ether  was  so  important  to  western  notions  of  the  immortal 
soul  that  it  was  never  abandoned;  even  today  some  occultists  call  it 
the  substance  of  the  "astral  body."  In  the  18th  and  19th  centuries, 
astronomers  believed  ether  was  a  gas  filling  all  of  outer  space. 

Etheric  spirits  were  immortal,  but  the  other  elements  were  also 
represented  by  spirits  of  a  superhuman  nature;  undines  (water), 
salamanders  (fire),  gnomes  (earth),  and  sylphs  (air).  Some  said  these 
were  pre-human  races  born  of  the  four  rivers  that  flowed  from  the 
Great  Mother's  belly  in  the  paradisial  age.  Elemental  colors  were 
associated  with  these  four  rivers  of  feminine  nurturing  fluids:  water, 
blood,  honey,  and  milk.  Oriental  gemsmiths  assigned  to  them  the  jewels 
of  mystical  significance:  sapphire  or  lapis  lazuli  (water),  ruby  (blood 
or  fire),  gold  (earth),  and  silver,  crystal,  or  diamond  (air).2'  According  to 
biblical  symbolism,  the  female  land  was  made  of  rivers  Milk  and 
Honey;  the  male  god  or  ancient  Savior  contributed  blood  and  water,  the 




Malcficarum  A 
treatise  on  witches 
and  witchcraft  compiled 
by  Guazzo  in  1608. 

Constantine  Psellus 

1  lth-century  Byzantine 
politician,  scholar, 
philosopher,  and 
courtier;  author  of  a 
History,  poems,  and 
letters  on  many 

very  same  fluids  that  flowed  from  the  body  of  Jesus  in  the  "land  of 
milk  and  honey"  (John  19:34). 

The  philosophical  sect  called  Stoics — after  stoicheia,  "the  ele- 
ments"— assigned  color  symbolism,  signs  of  the  zodiac,  seasons,  and 
deities  to  the  elements.24  Their  system  passed  into  the  Roman  Circus, 
which  was  divided  into  four  elemental  regions  with  their  colors:  green 
for  Spring,  Earth,  Flowers,  Terra  Mater,  and  Venus;  red  for  Summer, 
Fire,  and  Mars;  blue  for  Autumn,  Water,  Heaven,  Saturn,  and 
Neptune;  white  for  Winter,  Air,  Zephyrs,  and  Jupiter.25  The  same 
deities  were  still  connected  with  the  elements  in  the  16th  century 
a.d.:  Venus  (water),  Mars  (fire),  Jove  (earth),  and  Saturn  (air). 

The  Compendium  MaleEcarum  quoted  Psellus's  list  of  elemental 
spirits  in  defining  various  kinds  of  devils  in  the  Middle  Ages.  "The 
first  is  the  fiery,  because  these  dwell  in  the  upper  air  and  will  never 
descend  ....  The  second  is  the  aerial,  because  these  dwell  in  the  air 
around  us. . . .  The  third  is  terrestrial . . .  some  dwell  in  the  fields  and 
lead  night  travelers  astray;  some  dwell  in  hidden  places  and  caverns. 
. . .  The  fourth  is  the  aqueous,  for  these  dwell  under  the  water  in  rivers 
and  lakes. . . .  They  raise  storms  at  sea,  sink  ships  in  the  ocean,  and  . . . 
are  more  often  women  than  men."26  According  to  Scot,  fire-spirits 
govern  the  intellect,  water-spirits  the  instincts  and  passions:  "Fiery 
spirits  urge  men  to  contemplation,  watery  spirits  to  lust."27  Sexual 
prejudices  entered  into  these  definitions,  for  the  supposed  sexual 
polarity  of  fire  and  water  was  never  forgotten. 

The  human  "temperament"  came  from  Latin  temperare,  "to  mix, 
to  combine";  temperament  was  a  mixture  of  elemental  "humors"  or 
fluids.  These  were  supposed  to  be  controlled  by  various  gods  associated 
with  the  elements.  Thus,  a  character  could  be  Martial,  Jovial, 
Saturnine,  or  Mercurial.  A  predominance  of  blood  gave  a  sanguine 
temperament;  of  phlegm,  a  phlegmatic  one;  of  bile,  a  melancholic 
one;  of  ether,  an  ethereal  one;  and  so  on.  The  temperamental  mixture 
was  also  related  to  tempor,  the  time  or  season,  for  the  elements  were 
categorized  also  with  the  four  seasons  of  the  year  and  various  configura- 
tions of  the  stars.28  These  ideas  were  old  even  before  Rome  was  built. 
The  legendary  ancestor  of  the  Scythians  was  said  to  have  arranged  all 
things  in  the  world  under  four  elemental  symbols  that  came  down 
from  heaven:  a  plough  (earth),  a  bowl  (water),  an  ax  (fire),  and  a  yoke 
(air,  the  "yoke"  between  heaven  and  earth,  related  to  the  word 
yoga).19  In  general,  the  lore  of  the  elements  was  a  prime  example  of 
what  may  be  one  of  humanity's  most  characteristic  behavior  patterns: 

I.  Lindsay,  O.A.,  20-2 1 ;  Campblell,  P.M.,  458.  2.  Campbell,  M.I.,  90. 
3.d'Alviella,240.  4.  Waddell,  484.  5.  Mahanirvanatantra,  262-63. 

6.  Bardo  Thodol,  15-16;  Agrippa,  57.  7.  Lindsay,  O.A.,  122;  Wedeck,  236. 
8.  Cavendish,  P.E.,  71.  9.  Rawson,  A.T.,  70.  10.  Agrippa,  43, 49. 

II.  Campbell,  P.M.,  64;  Oc.M.,  181;  Agrippa,  49.  12.  Rawson,  E.A.,  57. 

13.  Dumezil,319.  14.  Dumezil,647.  15.  Budge,  E.M.,  89. 16.  Lethaby,  58-60. 
17.  Lindsay,  O.A.,  20-21.  18.  Castiglioni,  134.  19.  Campbell,  M.I.,  154. 
20.  Bardo  Thodol,  25-26.  21.  Rose,  63.  22.  Cumont,  A.R.G.R.,  205.  23.  Waddell,  81. . 
24.  Cumont,  A.R.G.R.,  68.  25.  Lindsay,  O. A.,  240.  26.  Robbins,  133.  27.  Scot,  419.  ^ 
28.  Funk,  301.  29.  Jung  &  von  Franz,  1 14. 


[Elephant  Elephant 

A  totem  of  Shiva,  who  took  the  form  of  the  elephant  and  also  of  the 

[god  who  killed  the  elephant.  After  dispatching  his  victim,  Shiva  put  on         ^■■^^■^^^■■■^ 

the  elephant's  skin  and  turned  himself  elephantine,  while  "watched 

|  by  the  Goddess-spouse." '  In  the  erotic  poem  Song  of  the  Cowherd,  the 

i  god  was  incarnated  as  Krishna  and  the  Goddess-spouse  as  his  sexually 

insatiable  consort  Radha,  "She-Elephant."  Radha  was  named  for  an 

elephant  because  elephants  were  common  symbols  of  the  most 

powerful  sexual  energies.  The  Kama  Sutra  designated  "elephant  men" 

and  "elephant  women"  those  with  the  largest  genitals  and  most 

voracious  sexual  appetites.  Yet  Radha  was  entirely  human,  described  as 

Woman,  "the  object  of  devotion  to  which  even  God,  the  Creator 

himself,  bows  down."2 

A  male  elephant  was  often  given  the  title  of  Begetter,  or  Father,  or 
Grandfather.3  Buddha  was  begotten  on  the  virgin  Maya  by  the 
elephant  god  under  his  title  of  Ganesha,  "Lord  of  Hosts,"  most 
probably  derived  from  the  use  of  elephants  in  warfare.4  Every  history 
student  knows  North  African  war  leaders  considered  the  magic  of 
elephants  so  essential  to  victory  that  the  Carthaginian  general  Hanni- 
pal  insisted  on  trying  to  take  them  over  the  Alps  to  attack  Rome  from 
the  north — a  disastrous  tactical  misjudgment,  resulting  in  the  loss  of 
all  his  elephants  and  his  war  as  well. 

The  elephant-god  "Lord  of  Hosts"  had  a  flourishing  worship  in 
North  Africa  and  Egypt,  which  is  why  this  same  title  was  taken  by  the 
[biblical  Yahweh,  who  was  identified  with  the  elephant  god  at  his  sacred 
pity  of  Elephantine  during  the  5th  century  B.C.5  Jewish  mercenary 
soldiers  stationed  there  insisted  that  their  god  was  the  same  as  the 
klephant-mate  of  the  Virgin  Mother  Neith,  or  Anath:  the  two  of 
pern  were  totemized  as  Cow  and  Bull  Elephant  at  what  was  then  called 
pe  source  of  the  Nile.6  Elephants  were  worshipped  as  sexual- 
pymbolic  deities  in  Egypt  from  an  early  date.  Totem  standards  showing 
elephants,  and  artifacts  of  elephant  ivory,  appeared  in  pre-dynastic 

Judeo-Christian  scholars  tended  to  ignore  Yahweh's  involvement 
In  the  elephant  cult  because,  as  Hooke  says,  "it  is  naturally  repugnant 
to  most  people  [i.e.,  men]  to  entertain  the  suggestion  that  Jahveh  could 
ever  have  been  thought  of  as  possessing  a  female  consort  like  all  the 
paals  of  Canaan";  and  for  no  more  reason  than  this  allegedly  natural 
repugnance,  evidence  of  the  sacred  marriage  at  Elephantine  was 
suppressed.  Yet  the  same  author  admitted  that  Jahveh  was  once  one  of 
the  very  same  Baals,  and  even  addressed  as  Baal  in  the  Bible.8 

A  curious  parallel  to  the  Flight  into  Egypt  of  Yahweh's  son  is 
found  in  Buddhist  iconography.  The  Virgin  Mother  was  shown 
riding  a  white  bull,  led  by  Shiva  in  the  costume  of  a  peasant,  holding  in 
tier  arms  the  elephant-headed  Divine  Child,  the  reborn  Ganesha.9 
Possibly  the  original  Egyptian  version  of  this  reborn  god  entered  the 
Bible  under  the  name  of  Behemoth,  who  became  an  elephant- 
lieaded  demon  in  the  later  mythology  of  western  Europe. 


Elias,  Saint  The  elephant  still  symbolizes  the  sacred  marriage  in  a  Buddhist 

Elizabeth,  Saint  fertility  ritual.  Monks  lead  a  painted  white  elephant  in  solemn 

mm^^^ma^^am^m      procession,  attended  by  men  wearing  women's  clothes  and  making 
salacious  jokes.  "Through  this  ritualistic  female  disguise  they  do 
honor  to  the  cosmic  female  principle,  the  maternal,  procreative,  feeding 
energy  of  nature,  and  by  the  ritualistic  utterance  of  licentious  lan- 
guage stimulate  the  dormant  sexual  energy  of  the  living  power." 10  The 
same  transvestism  and  lewd  language  can  be  found  in  fertility  rituals 
the  world  over. 

1.  Zimmer,  173.  2.  Campbell,  Or.M.,  352.  3.  B.  Butler,  224. 

4.  Campbell,  Or.M.,  307.  5.  Graves,  W.G.,  405.  6.  Ashe,  3 1 ,  59. 

7.  Budge,  G.E.  1, 22.  8.  Hooke,  S.P.,  104, 182.  9.  Ross,  47.  10.  Zimmer,  108. 

Elias,  Saint 

Canonized  form  of  Helios,  the  sun  god,  called  El  the  solar  bull 
among  Semitic  peoples.1  Elias  was  the  god  Jesus  addressed  from  the 
cross;  his  hearers  said,  "This  man  calleth  for  Elias ...  let  us  see 
whether  Elias  will  come  to  save  him"  (Matthew  27:47-49;  Mark 
1 5:35).  Eusebius  built  upon  the  name  alone  a  nonsensical  Christian 
myth,  calling  Elias  one  of  five  Egyptians  who  were  "questioned"  at  the 
gate  of  Caesarea  and  gave  their  names  and  their  city,  Jerusalem. 
"The  governor  ordered  them  to  be  tortured  to  exhort  more  precise 
information;  but  they  remained  mute  and  were  beheaded."2 

l.Lawson,  44.  2.  Artwater,  112. 

Elizabeth,  Saint 

Daughter  of  a  1 3th-century  king  of  Hungary,  Elizabeth  was  married 
at  the  age  of  13  to  the  Landgrave  of  Thuringia.  She  was  a  mother  at  14, 
a  widow  at  20,  and  a  corpse  at  24,  having  died  of  an  excess  of 

Her  spiritual  advisor  was  Conrad  von  Marburg,  who  loved  to  strip 
both  Elizabeth  and  her  maids  and  mercilessly  whip  them  for  the 
slightest  infraction  of  his  orders.  On  one  occasion  the  young  Landgra- 
vine was  invited  to  visit  a  nunnery  and  went  without  asking  his 
permission.  He  beat  her  so  severely  that  "for  three  weeks  the  marks  of 
the  cords  could  be  seen  upon  her."  After  her  husband's  death,  other 
nobles  robbed  her  of  her  estates  and  left  her  destitute;  von  Marburg 
ordered  her  to  send  away  her  last  few  friends  and  her  children.  She 
said,  "I  fear  a  mortal  man  as  much  as  I  should  fear  the  heavenly  Judge. 
Therefore  I  have  given  my  obedience  to  Master  Conrad  . . .  that  I 
might  be  bereft  of  every  earthly  consolation." l 

She  inflicted  further  austerities  on  herself,  in  addition  to  the  abuse 
she  received  from  von  Marburg,  and  soon  died  of  these  physical 
hardships.  Conrad  von  Marburg  pulled  political  strings  to  have  her 


canonized,  to  enhance  his  own  reputation  as  her  teacher.  He  busied 
himself  in  the  torture  chamber— a  task  plainly  suited  to  his  personal- 
ity—and was  credited  with  bringing  8000  heretics  to  the  stake  in  a 
single  year.  At  last  he  was  assassinated  by  a  group  of  irate  knights, 
against  whom  he  had  preached  a  crusade.2  He  was  promptly  canon- 
ized as  a  saint  and  a  martyr.5 

1.  de  Voragine,  684.  2.  Lea  unabridged,  41 5-25.  3.  H.  Smith,  258. 


Hebrew  plural  word  meaning  "the  goddesses  and  the  gods,"  though 
I  every  time  it  appeared  in  a  Bible  text  it  was  translated  simply  "God."  In 
the  original  manuscripts  of  the  book  of  Genesis,  Yahweh  was  only 
one  of  the  elohim.  Sometimes  the  singular  form  was  taken  as  a  name, 
e.g.  the  Phoenician  bull-god  called  simply  El,  "the  god." l 

Medieval  wizards  thought  Elohim  was  one  of  the  magical  secret 
names  of  God;  or,  at  times,  it  was  taken  to  be  the  name  of  a  devil. 

1 .  Lamusse,  74. 



Spenser  said  the  word  "elf  meant  "alive."  '  But  there  is  little  doubt 
that  elves  were  the  ancestral  dead,  still  "alive"  in  their  burial  mounds;  "it 
is  well  known  that  in  Scandinavia  the  dead  were  formerly  called 
'elves.'  "2  The  Kormaks  Saga,  pagan  Icelandic  poem  of  the  10th 
century,  described  sacrifices  to  them  for  curative  purposes:  "Redden 
the  outside  of  the  mound  with  bull's  blood,  and  make  the  elves  a  feast 
with  the  flesh;  and  you  will  be  healed." 3 

The  paradise  of  Alfaheimr  (Elf-land)  was  always  matriarchal, 
inhabited  by  the  bright  female  spirits  who  made  the  sun.  Like  their 
eastern  counterparts  the  dakinis,  these  Valkyries  or  fairies  could  be 
both  beautiful  and  hideous,  representing  both  birth  and  death.5  In  the 
new  creation  after  doomsday,  the  new  female  sun  would  be  Glory-of- 

Christianity  opposed  this  ancient  female-centered  theology,  as 
shown  by  accounts  of  elf-feasts  as  demonic  sabbats  where  "cloven- 
footed  dancers"  trod  their  fairy  rings.  Henry  More,  17th  century 
English  philosopher  and  poet,  said  they  often  appeared  in  northern 
England  and  in  Ireland.7  Ballads  merged  the  demon  lover  with  the  "elf- 
knight,"  a  wooer  from  pagan  northlands.8  The  custom  of  the  Wild 
Hunt  or  Night  Ride,  sacred  to  the  elf-king  (Odin),  was  transformed  into 
a  procession  of  wind-riding  demons,  as  at  Halloween  and  other 
Ipagan  festivals.  Leader  of  the  night  riders  was  called  the  Erl  King,  from 
Danish  eherkonge,  a  king  of  those  who  belong  to  Hel.  He  associated 
with  the  sacred  alder  tree.9 

The  word  elf  was 
related  to  the  helleder, 
people  belonging  to 
Mother  Hel  as  Death- 
goddess.  In  general  it 
meant  heathen,  both 
dead  and  living. 
Sigvat  Thordarson  in 
the  11th  century 
called  heathen  people 
alfar,  "elves,"  who 
worshipped  their  deities 
at  feasts  called 
alfablot  (elf-blood)  in 
certain  "heathen- 
holy"  houses  ruled  by 



Other  plants  often  associated  with  elves  were  the  holly  sacred  to 
Hel,  the  mistletoe,  the  mandrake,  and  various  witch-herbs  including 
rosemary,  known  as  the  Elfin  Plant,10  named  after  the  Goddess  herself. 
(See  Rose.) 

l.Keightley,57.  2.  Wimberly,  127.  3.  H.R.E.  Davidson,  G.M.V.A.,  156. 

4.  Hollander,  154.  5.Turville-Petre,  231.  6.  Sturluson,  92.  7.  Summers,  V,  115. 

8.  Wimberly,  137.  9.  Encyc.  Brit,  "Erl  King."  10.  Wimberly,  350. 


Greek  paradise,  Persephone's  heaven  for  heroes,  also  called  the  Isles 
of  the  Blest;  located  either  in  the  underworld,  or  in  the  far  west,  like  the 
Hesperian  apple-orchards  of  Mother  Hera.  Elysium  too  was  an 
"Apple-land,"  like  Avalon  and  Eden.1  It  became  a  common  synonym 
for  "paradise." 

1.  Graves,  CM.  1,123. 

var.  Emain,  Hy-Many 


Celtic  "Land  of  the  Moon,"  where  the  dead  went,  ruled  by  the 
Queen  of  Shades  called  Mania,  Mana,  Macha,  Mene,  or  Minne:  the 
Fairy  Queen.  Like  the  Norse  heaven  Manavegr,  it  was  identified 
with  the  moon-path  in  the  sky,  and  with  earthly  shrines,  too.  Macha's 
holy  city  was  called  Emain  Macha.  See  Moon. 


"Heaven  of  Inner  Fire,"  Greek  philosophers'  concept  of  the  highest 
heaven  above  the  planetary  spheres,  "empire"  of  the  sun  god,  or  the 
divine  king  of  the  celestial  mountain.  "Inner  Fire"  probably  referred 
to  the  divine  element  ether,  supposed  to  be  the  substance  of  spirits.  See 
Elements;  Mountain. 


"Seduced  Moon-man,"  a  Greek  hero  enchanted  into  eternal  sleep  by 
the  Moon-goddess  Selene.  He  was  a  God-begotten  king  of  Elis,  having 
ousted  the  former  king  in  the  usual  fashion  of  ancient  heroes.  "When 
his  reign  ended  he  was  duly  sacrificed  and  awarded  a  hero  shrine  at 
Olympia." l  This  was  the  "sleep  put  on  him"  by  his  Goddess,  who 
nightly  kissed  him  where  he  lay  forever  on  the  mountainside.  See 

1.  Graves,  G.M.  1,211. 



Ennead  Ennead 

The  Nine,"  primal  Great  Deities  of  Egypt:  a  male  and  female  pair 

or  each  of  the  four  elements,  plus  their  Mother,  the  Creatress  called  bihi^h^bh 

>Iu,  Nut,  Ma-Nu,  Temu,  Maa,  or  Night,  the  Abyss,  Chaos:  the 

undifferentiated  mixture  of  elements.  See  Creation;  Elements. 


>eek  enthousiasmos,  "having  a  god  within,"  the  concept  of  posses- 
ion by  a  divine  spirit.  It  was  a  doctrine  set  forth  in  Asia  as  Svecchacara, 
reedom  from  all  sinfulness  because  all  actions  are  motivated  by  the 
inner  divinity.1  See  Antinomianism;  Possession. 

1 .  Angus,  151. 


Courage,  in  modern  slang,  is  both  "guts"  and  "balls,"  a  combination 
f  very  ancient  precedent.  It  was  once  thought  that  male  genitals  were 
•rotruding  ends  of  intestines,  literally  "testes-within."  Egyptian  sma 
neant  both  entrails  and  male  genitals.1  Egyptians  prayed  to  be  delivered 
m  the  day  of  reckoning  from  a  Kali-like  death-goddess  Baba,  who  not 
>nly  "devoured"  men  sexually  but  also  "feeds  on  the  entrails  of  the 

Kali  devoured  her  lover  genitally  and  also  devoured  his  entrails  at 
fie  same  time.5  Similarly,  Aphrodite  in  her  Crone  form  as  Andro- 
ihonos,  Man-Slayer,  killed  her  lovers  as  a  queen  bee  does  by  ripping 
ut  their  intestines  along  with  their  genitals.4  In  northern  Europe 
here  was  the  same  ceremony:  spring  was  brought  to  the  world  by 
pibolically  ripping  out  the  entrails  of  Loki  via  a  rope  tied  around  his 
enitals.  His  blood  bathed  the  lap  (womb)  of  the  Goddess;  then  she 
piled,  and  the  spring  could  come.5  See  Skadi. 

Because  men's  "guts"  were  supposed  to  possess  the  spirit  of  the 

hallic  god,  also  mythologized  as  the  underground  serpent,  it  was 

sual  to  take  omens  from  the  entrails  of  sacrificial  victims.  Among  the 

Lmazonian  tribes  of  the  Black  Sea  area,  the  readers  of  entrails  were 

old  gray-haired  women."6  The  Romans  called  similar  diviners  haruspi- 

(es,  "those  who  gaze  into  the  belly."7 

1.  Budge,  G.E.  1, 43.  2.  Cavendish,  RE.,  1 12.  3.  Neumann,  CM.,  pi.  66. 
4.  Graves,  G.M.  1, 72.  5.  Oxenstierna,  213.  6.  Wendt,  137.  7.  Rose,  237. 


lomer's  "Rosy-fingered  Dawn,"  the  same  birth-goddess  as  Mater 
latuta,  Aurora,  or  Hebe.  Her  rosy  fingers  were  usually  assumed  to 


Epona  represent  the  pink  clouds  of  sunrise,  but  the  meaning  may  have  been 

Erinys  more  literal,  recalling  the  habit  of  Egyptian  and  Asian  priestesses  of 

g^^i^^g,^      staining  their  fingers  red  for  religious  ceremonies.  See  Henna. 


Celtic-Saxon  Horse-goddess  of  Iron  Age  Britain,  probably  modeled 
on  Cretan  Leukippe  (White  Mare),  Mare-headed  Demeter,  and  the 
equine  deities  of  central  Asia.  The  cult  of  Epona  "stretched  from 
Spain  to  Eastern  Europe  and  Northern  Italy  to  Britain." '  Irish  kings 
were  still  symbolically  united  with  a  white  mare  in  the  1 1th  century 
a.d.  See  Horse. 

1 .  Larousse,  240. 

var.  Erebus  Erebos 

Greco- Roman  name  for  the  underworld,  land  of  death,  described  in 
Orphic  mystery-religion  as  "the  Abysmal  Womb." '  Like  other  ancient 
concepts  of  "hell,"  it  was  a  place  of  regeneration.  See  Hell. 

I.  Lindsay,  O.A.,  116. 


Underworld  counterpart  of  the  Babylonian  Goddess  Ishtar;  compar- 
able to  Nephthys  in  Egypt,  Persephone  in  Greece,  Kali-Uma  in  India, 
Hel  in  northern  Europe.  She  was  provided  with  a  consort,  Nergal, 
later  transformed  by  Christian  mythographers  into  a  demonic  official  of 


Virgil's  name  for  the  constellation  of  the  Virgin,  also  known  as 
Astraea,  Goddess  of  Justice,  or  Libra,  Lady  of  the  Scales.1  She  was  the 
same  celestial  Judge  as  the  Egyptian  Goddess  Maat. 

1.  Lindsay,  O.A.,  277. 


"Avenger,"  title  of  Mother  Demeter  as  the  threefold  Furies,  who 
punished  all  trespassers  against  matriarchal  law.  In  her  fearsome  aveng- 
ing aspect,  the  Goddess  sometimes  appeared  as  the  Night-mare,  with 
a  black  horse  head  wreathed  with  snakes.1  See  Demeter;  Furies. 

1.  Graves,  W.G.,  411. 


Erl  King 

Danish  ellerkonge,  "king  of  elves,"  associated  with  the  sacred  alder  or 
elder  tree,  and  the  underground  land  of  the  dead.  As  Lord  of  Death,  he 
was  the  consort  of  Hel,  Goddess  of  the  elder  trees.1  He  was  really  a 
form  of  Odin,  leader  of  the  Wild  Hunt  composed  of  ghostly  riders  on 
the  night  wind. 

Erl  King 


Bisexual  Greek  deity  of  erotic  love,  identical  with  Hindu  Kama. 
Orphics  said  Eros  was  the  first  god  to  emerge  from  the  womb  of  the 
primal  creatress,  Mother  Night,  "of  whom  even  Zeus  stands  in 
awe." '  Plato  said  Eros  was  the  oldest  of  deities,  the  most  worthy  of 
honor,  the  one  who  gave  souls  strength  to  ascend  to  heaven  after 
death.2  In  short,  Eros  was  a  kind  of  Savior,  before  cults  of  asceticism 
began  to  replace  the  older  worship  of  sexuality  as  a  primary  life-force. 

1.  Graves,  CM.,  1,  30.  2.  Lindsay,  O.A.,  125. 


Babylonian  name  for  the  Queen  of  Heaven,  who  chose  kings  and 
married  them,  and  controlled  the  function  of  birth  among  all  creatures 
in  her  land.1  An  alternate  title  of  the  Goddess  Ishtar,  or  Inanna. 

l.Assyr.  &  Bab.  Lit,  114. 


Jewish  sect  of  ascetics,  based  on  sun-worshipping  Persian  anchorites, 
who  in  turn  evolved  their  system  from  Jain  yogis  professing  to  work 
miracles  by  living  apart  from  the  world  and  practicing  extreme  self- 
denial.  Jesus,  John  the  Baptist,  and  Simon  Magus  were  said  to  have 
been  trained  in  Essenic  communities,  which  formed  the  bulk  of  the 
first  Christians.  Epiphanius  said,  "They  who  believed  on  Christ  were 
called  Essenes  before  they  were  called  Christians." l 

An  Essenic  hierarchy  included  a  chief  priest  called  Christos 
(Anointed  One),  "head  of  the  entire  Congregation  of  Israel."  There 
were  ordinary  priests  called  "sons  of  Aaron,"  and  another  functionary 
known  as  the  Messiah  of  Israel.2  The  latter  was  also  called  Teacher  of 
Righteousness.  He  suffered  physical  abuse  in  atonement  for  the  sins  of 
the  entire  community,  enduring  "vindictive  sentences  of  scourging 
and  the  terrors  of  painful  sicknesses,  and  vengeance  on  his  fleshly 

Josephus  said  the  Essenes  "reject  pleasures  as  an  evil,  but  esteem 

Epiphanius  Sainted 
4th-century  father  of 
the  church,  friend 
of  St.  Jerome,  writer  of 
many  tracts  and 
polemics  against 


Essenes  continence,  and  the  conquest  over  our  passions,  to  be  virtue.  They 

neglect  wedlock,  but  choose  out  other  persons'  children,  while  they  are 
^^^^^^^      pliable,  and  fit  for  learning;  and  esteem  them  to  be  of  their  kindred, 
and  form  them  according  to  their  own  manners."  We  are  not  told 
whether  these  "other  persons'  children"  were  abandoned  by  their 
parents,  or  sold,  or  given  to,  or  kidnapped  by,  the  Essenes.  These  harsh 
anchorites  imposed  cruel  sentences  for  the  least  infraction  of  rules, 
partial  starvation  being  the  most  common  punishment.  Some  suffered 
punishments  lasting  two  or  more  years  for  wavering  from  the  doc- 
trines of  the  community.4 

The  doctrines  were  strikingly  similar  to  those  of  early  Christianity. 
Essenes  anticipated  St.  Augustine  in  teaching  that  immortal  souls 
belonged  in  heaven,  but  were  drawn  down  to  earth  and  entrapped  in 
corruptible  flesh  by  the  "natural  enticement"  of  sex.5  The  soul's 
purity  might  be  recovered  by  ascetic  techniques  such  as  mortification  of 
the  flesh,  fasting,  renunciation  of  sensual  pleasures,  and  by  solitary 
meditation  in  the  wilderness,  like  the  voluntary  exiles  of  John  and  Jesus. 

Essenes  called  themselves  Therapeutae,  "healers,"  claiming  their 
austere  lifestyle  gave  them  power  to  cast  out  demons  of  sickness,  even 
to  restore  life  to  the  dead;  Jesus's  raising  of  Lazarus  was  a  typical  Essenic 
miracle.6  Much  of  their  training  as  exorcists  consisted  of  learning  lists 
of  spirits'  names,  and  the  holy  names  that  would  expel  them.  Like  Jesus 
in  the  episode  of  the  Gadarene  swine,  Essenes  always  demanded  the 
demons'  names.  (See  Name.)  They  were  sworn  to  strictest  secrecy 
regarding  the  magical  names  they  used  in  their  exorcisms.7 

Essenes  preached  giving  away  all  one's  worldly  goods  upon  joining 
the  sect,  which  meant  those  who  joined  gave  away  everything  they 
owned  to  their  superiors.  Dire  punishments  were  meted  out  to  those 
who  lied  about  their  possessions  in  order  to  hold  something  back  for 
themselves  or  their  families.8  An  Essenic  episode  in  the  Gospels  tells  of 
Ananias  and  his  wife  Sapphira,  killed  by  St.  Peter  for  giving  the 
apostles  only  a  part,  but  not  all,  of  the  money  they  received  for  a  sale  of 
land.  Peter  and  his  associates  were  jailed  for  murder,  but  later  escaped 
(Acts  5:2-10, 18). 

Despite  their  vows  of  poverty,  the  Essenes  were  strangely  obsessed 
with  visions  of  wealth  and  power  coming  to  them  after  Armageddon, 
"The  War  of  the  Sons  of  Light  with  the  Sons  of  Darkness."9  Sons  of 
Light  of  course  were  the  Essenes,  and  all  others  outside  their 
brotherhood  were  Sons  of  Darkness,  otherwise  called  "men  of  the 
Pit." 10  The  Essenes  believed  firmly  in  the  imminence  of  the  Last 
Days,  when  they  would  be  called  upon  to  fight  the  forces  of  evil.  Their 
reward  would  be  to  rule  the  world — in  an  oddly  materialistic  manner, 
as  envisioned  by  their  scriptures: 

Arise,  O  Warrior,  take  thy  captives,  O  glorious  man!  Seize  thy  plunder,  O 
doer  of  mighty  deeds!  Lay  thy  hand  on  the  necks  of  thy  enemies  and 
thy  foot  on  the  heaps  of  the  slain;  smite  the  nations,  thy  adversaries,  and 
may  thy  sword  devour  guilty  flesh Let  there  be  a  multitude  of 


possessions  in  thy  fields,  silver  and  gold  and  precious  stones  in  thy  palaces.  Esther 

...Let  thy  gates  be  continuously  open,  that  the  wealth  of  the  nations 

may  be  brought  unto  thee;  and  let  their  kings  serve  thee,  and  all  the  _^^^^__^^___ 

oppressors  bow  down  to  thee  and  lick  the  dust  of  thy  feet. " 

A  large  colony  of  Essenes  occupied  the  Qumran  community 
from  1 10  B.C.  to  the  fall  of  Jerusalem  in  70  a.d.  with  a  significant  period 
of  vacancy  during  the  reign  of  Herod,  31-4  B.C.  In  31  b.c.  the  site 
had  to  be  abandoned  because  a  severe  earthquake  cracked  the  water 
cistern  and  ruined  the  buildings.12 

Survivors  evidently  took  the  earthquake  as  a  sign  of  the  oncoming 
Last  Days  and  went  forth  into  the  world  to  preach  their  message. 
Josephus  said  before  70  a.d.  there  were  many  Messiahs  and  Christs 
announcing  the  end  of  the  world.15  Some  were  willing  to  die  a 
martyr's  death,  believing  this  would  gain  them  special  privileges  in  the 
world  of  the  hereafter.  One  such  martyr  may  have  been  John  the 
Baptist,  who  came  from  the  wilderness  to  call  Herod  and  his  court  to 
repentance,  and  remained  to  serve  as  a  sacred  king  (see  Salome). 

Early  Mandaean  Christians  said  the  true  prophet  was  not  Jesus  but 
John  the  Baptist.  They  called  themselves  Christians  of  St.  John,  and 
also  Nasoraje,  or  "Nazarenes."  H  One  of  the  colonies  of  exiled  hermits 
from  Qumran  settled  around  Nazareth  and  took  up  the  craft  of 
carpentry;  hence  the  craft-brotherhood  of  Nazorenes,  from  najjar, 
"carpenters,"  after  whom  the  town  may  have  been  named.  Some 
Christian  authorities  of  the  first  centuries  a.d.  wrote  that  during  this 
period  "all  Christians  were  called  Nazorenes." 15  Jesus  too  was  called 
a  Nazorene.  The  oldest  Gospel  called  him  "Jesus  the  carpenter"  (Mark 

Oddly,  what  began  in  the  east  as  a  carpenters'  metaphor  passed 
into  the  Gospels  as  a  masons'  metaphor.  Essene-like  Buddhist  her- 
mits described  themselves  as  logs  rejected  by  the  carpenter's  craft.16  The 
same  words  were  put  into  Jesus's  mouth,  somewhat  altered:  he  called 
himself  a  stone  rejected  by  the  masons  (Matthew  21:42). 

1.  Doane,426.  2.  Pfeifer,  133.  3.  Augstein,  108.  4.  Pfeifer,  59,  138. 

5.  Pfeifer,  99;  Encyc.  Brit.,  "Augustine."  6.  Mumford,  146.  7.  Legge  1, 158. 

8.  Pfeifer,  59.  9.  Black,  3.  10.  Pfeifer,  51.  11.  Pfeifer,  82. 

12.  Pfeifer,  24;  Campbell,  Oc.M.,  285.  13.  Brandon,  248.  14.  Reinach,  77. 

15.  Black,  72.  16.  Campbell,  Or.M.,  279. 


'Star,"  the  Hebrew  rendering  of  Ishtar  or  Astarte.  The  biblical  Book 
of  Esther  is  a  secularized  Elamite  myth  of  Ishtar  (Esther)  and  her 
consort  Marduk  (Mordecai),  who  sacrificed  the  god  Hammon,  or 
Amon  (Haman).  Yahweh  was  never  mentioned,  because  the  Jews  of 
Elam  worshipped  Marduk,  not  Yahweh.  (See  Purim.) 

Esther  probably  was  the  name  given  to  any  priestess  chosen  to 
represent  the  Goddess  on  the  occasion  of  the  king's  sacred  marriage. 


Ethan  Even  the  Bible  story  admits  that  Esther-Ishtar  was  not  the  real  name  of 

Euphemia,  Saint  the  Elamite-Jewish  queen.  Her  real  name  was  Hadassah  (Esther  2:7). 


Biblical  sage  almost  as  wise  as  Solomon  (1  Kings  4:31).  His  origin 
was  not  really  biblical.  He  was  the  Sumerian  god-king  Etana,  called 
Eytan  in  the  land  of  Canaan.  He  ascended  to  heaven  on  eagle-back, 
like  Ganymede,  to  reach  the  Goddess  and  learn  the  secret  of  eternal  life. 
He  came  down  again  to  earth,  some  said  thrown  down  by  the  jealous 
sun  god  for  his  hubris.1  Evidently  he  returned  to  earth  to  be  reincarnat- 
ed in  the  next  king.  (See  Kingship.) 

1.  Albright,  250. 

Eugenia,  Saint 

"Healer"  or  "Health,"  a  title  of  the  Goddess  converted  into  a 
fictitious  "virgin  martyr."  Her  legend  claimed  she  was  one  of  the 
women  who  entered  a  Christian  sect  by  "turning  herself  into  a  man," 
for  some  sects  would  not  admit  women  unless  they  did  this.1  St. 
Eugenia  accordingly  became  a  monk  and  called  herself  Brother 
Eugenius.  The  same  story  told  of  all  she-monks  was  told  of  her:  she  was 
falsely  accused  of  rape  and  condemned  to  a  life  of  expiation,  which 
she  patiently  endured.  Still,  the  healing  miracles  attributed  to  her  shrines 
were  older  than  her  Christian  legend,  showing  that  she  was  really  the 
Goddess  whose  "eugenic"  springs  were  even  more  popular  in  the  1st 
century  than  Lourdes  or  Compostela  in  the  20th.2 

1 .  Malvern,  33.  2.  de  Voragine,  537. 


"Good  Ones,"  a  euphemistic  title  of  the  Furies,  intended  to  placate 
their  wrath  and  refrain  from  attracting  their  attention  through  invoca- 
tion of  their  real  names. 


"Order,"  the  first  of  Aphrodite's  three  Horae;  one  of  the  names  of 
the  Triple  Goddess's  virgin  aspect  as  the  Creatress  who  first  brought 
order  out  of  chaos.  See  Creation;  Diakosmos. 

Euphemia,  Saint 

"Good-speaker,"  a  fictitious  Christian  saint  based  on  a  title  of  the 
Goddess  as  the  Muse  of  mellifluous  speech.  St.  Euphemia's  legend 


shows  that  she  was  not  a  human  being  but  a  statue.  She  stood  aloft  on 
a  high  place,  and  could  not  be  reached  except  with  ladders;  those  who 
climbed  up  to  pull  her  down  were  afraid,  because  the  first  of  their 
number  had  been  stricken  with  paralysis  upon